Nine tips to ensure you don't 'go to waist' over this silly season

Damage limitation is the key, says nutritionist Emma Buckley

The party season is here… The time of year when it’s so easy to give into excess, with the promise in the back of our minds that we’ll stick to our New Year’s Resolutions and get seriously healthy come January. But you don't have to wait until then and here's why.

It’s pretty much a given that we’re going to indulge somewhat over Christmas and I think it’s important to enjoy the fun of the season but you don’t want to have such a huge mountain to climb in the New Year. So, the best thing to do is be prepared and ensure 'damage limitation'.

There are a few things to consider and most are just about planning, being prepared and being aware of the pitfalls and how to give yourself a parachute, in case of emergencies.

Here are my top tips for limiting damage over the Christmas period:

1. Eat before you go out - don’t arrive at a party starving, you’ll make the worst food choices. Usually the canapés are pastry-based and deep-fried. The best thing to do is to eat something fairly substantial before you go so that you won’t feel compelled to nibble. If you are planning to go to dinner after the party, why not go before? If you are going to tuck into the food - think protein!

2. Keep topping up the hydration, a hangover is mostly dehydration. Always try to have a glass of water with each glass of alcohol and alternate with soft drinks (yes, I said try!).

3. Choose lean meats and veg nibbles like chicken satay skewers or veg sticks over deep-fried spring rolls or filo prawns etc.

4. Portion control - for you and the kids, be mindful of how much of something you’re eating. A little of what you fancy does you good - not the whole selection box in one go.

5. Exercise (even just a little) each day, a quick walk with the kids will be enough.

6. Be the host with the most... healthy nibbles! If you’re hosting a party, you can choose what to serve.  Go for foods that are healthy, tasty and easy to prepare, like brown bread and smoked salmon, veg sticks and hummus, mixed nuts, cheese and fruit, homemade popcorn, homemade salsa and guacamole, chicken and prawns etc.

7. 80/20 rule. I love this rule. As long as 80% of food is good, 20% can be not so good ;-)

8. Rest. Lack of sleep can lead to a lowered defence system so make sure you get plenty of sleep and rest and take some downtime for yourself.

9. Enjoy! Honestly, if you can’t enjoy yourself and let go a little at Christmas, when can you?

Again, surviving the silly season is all about planning and preparation and a little bit of surrendering! Please enjoy yourself and don’t beat yourself up if you overindulge a little, it’s good for your soul. As long as you have a great time and don’t regret it, it’s all good. Remember: 80/20.

Emma Buckley is Director of Nutrition at GourmetFuel®, one of Ireland’s leading health and nutrition companies. GourmetFuel® offer full meal service provision, nutrition and exercise plans, taking the guesswork out of eating healthy and correctly! If you’d like a free consultation with the nutrition team, contact them on 01 293 8792 or visit www.gourmetfuel.com. Delivery is nationwide.