Normal holiday gatherings with friends and family are full of minefields! There are so many tempting food choices, even at the office or your place of work. In addition, companies love to show their appreciation with an annual employee holiday party, or Department parties (so you might have two or more to attend!). While this can be a fun way to hang out with your coworkers without all the work-talk going on, it can also be a mine-trap of foods, drinks, and snacks that will send the best of us spiraling off all our hard work to stay reasonably committed to our health this season. So, what can we do to avoid imploding during the company holiday party? Here are some of my tried-and-true suggestions to keep you on-track and feeling great the next day without feeling deprived.

#1 – Go to your office party with a plan and your confidence. “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail” Is such a true statement! By planning your day out to include healthy, filling foods during the day and having a nutritious snack before going to the party, you’ll be less likely to visit the buffet table more times than you should. Without knowing in advance what will be served, arriving hungry is a recipe for disaster as you are bound to make worse choices “in the moment” if you are starving. Be sure to plan for plenty of water leading up to the day of the party so you are hydrated. If you want to have a drink, or some dessert, just make sure you’ve accounted for it ahead of time so that you are in control, not the food. You want to be making conscious choices! A plan allows you to have full control over your decisions and will keep you from feeling guilty after the fact.

#2 – And, while we are mentioning drinking, we all know too much alcohol is never a good mix with business. Overindulging can not only wreak havoc on your career (maybe you said the wrong thing to the boss?), but it can also leave you feeling low on energy, foggy and bloated! If you plan on drinking, I would recommend having a glass of water between each drink, and limit the number of drinks you are having so that it doesn’t lead to bad food choices throughout the event. sip your wine with so you can enjoy it longer, or add lots of ice and some club soda to your mixed drink to dilute the alcohol. Whatever you choose to drink, give yourself a limit on the number of drinks and stick to it (this goes back to planning!) so that you can give yourself some leeway to enjoy a few appetizers or dessert. Did you know I call wine “Stoopid Juice?” because for me, more than 2 glasses usually leads to bad food decisions!

#3 – Connecting with other people during the event is a great way to keep yourself from overdoing it with the food and alcohol. Use this as an opportunity to network with higher ups or other colleagues that can help you shine, or just have fun socializing and getting to know your coworkers a little better. While everyone else is busy eating and drinking, you’ll be making strategic alliances and solidifying relationships with the people your work with, which can only help you grow within your company. By not standing near the food table (sometimes we do this to avoid talking to people), and mingling, you’ll keep yourself on track, while getting some face time with the boss!

#4 – My favorite way to navigate the office holiday party is to use the Worth Every Calorie (WEC) rule. This is helpful in every situation where you are faced with making food decisions. Basically, if you plan to indulge in something you don’t normally eat or is outside of your healthy food plan, make sure you choose something that you rarely get to enjoy and is totally worth it! For me, great wine and cheese are always at the top of that list, but for others it might be an indulgent dessert or a rich entrée. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s WEC!

Having a strong corporate background in executive management and consulting, including C-level positions in Information Technology for private companies as well as state Government, I’m well equipped to support my clients as they navigate holiday parties, corporate events and other health challenges their busy schedules present.  It’s also not too late to join my Healthier Holidays Challenge or to just grab my beautiful 24 page Healthier Holidays Survival Guide (which includes great recipes for a 4 day Reset!), just click here for more information or to sign up. For more information on my services, or to find out how I can help you, contact me today, or visit my website.