It is that time of year, holiday parties, business dinners, and social get-togethers with friends. I hear from clients (and my past self) that they will “get back on track” or “start a new diet and exercise plan after the holidays”. If it is not a promise of future commitment it is a resignation “it is just too hard to eat healthy at this time of year”. I’m changing the plate and proposing a new ‘line’, it doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult.

I am not pretending that there will be less temptations and triggers this year, trying to send you into a downward spiral of gingerbread and Christmas cookie consumption. BUT, it comes back to being mindful, sticking to your good habits and not losing control of your eating habits. Check out a recent blog I did on how to gain control over your eating habits.

So how do you get through all the dinners out?

These are my top 7 strategies for avoiding crippling overconsumption and guilt while you are out to eat for all these gatherings:

1. Plan ahead and be prepared. I know you have heard this before, but hear me out. One thing that has gotten me through a busy social calendar and endless dinners is to plan ahead. This means I am planning my healthy meals throughout the day, bringing a snack cooler with snacks to have right before I head off to the event. This helps to subdue hunger and avoid overindulging. Some great examples of pre-meal snacks include a green protein smoothie, hummus, and veggies or a healthy bar like GoMacro, Biosteel etc. If you want to avoid all temptations, eat a full meal beforehand and just have a drink and a small appetizer at the restaurant.

2. Investigate the menu. If you do not have control over the location, make sure to take a quick peek at the restaurant’s website and menu, this gives you an idea of what to expect.  I recommend you make up your mind prior to arriving. You won’t even need to look at the menu when you get there because you have already decided on the steak salad.

3. Order first and set the tone for the table. If you are out for dinner with work or friends, always order first.  People will mimic others when it comes to food and drink choices. It is likely that your dinner partners will order in a similar fashion, if not, at least you have avoided an opportunity to be swayed.  Remember you DO make friends with salads.

4. Choose your indulgences. This is where we get into trouble when eating out, we get the cheesy appetizer, the steak and potatoes as a main, the wine to pair with the steak and decide to say “screw it, we are already here so let’s have the dessert”. It doesn’t have to always be this way. What will you actually enjoy? And if you want it all? That’s okay, just share. Split the app, the main and dessert, have only a glass of wine. We get into trouble when we are continuously overindulging without thought to what we actually enjoy, in for a penny in for a pound is a horrible mantra.

5. One meal at a time. This ties into the previous point, if you do indulge, make it one meal. Don’t throw your hands in the air and decide you might as well blow the entire day, or even worse the entire holiday season. We are experts at drowning ourselves in guilt and deciding it’s better to give up completely, it is okay that you indulged now it can be brought under control.

6. Take your time and chew your food. This one is huge, sometimes when we are in social settings we can overeat and not even notice we are eating everything! Slow down, it will aid your digestion and you might even find you don’t want that third serving.

7. Load up on veggies. I know, I know here we go again talking about how you need to eat your veggies, but I will not apologize for continuing to bring it up…because #eatyourveggies. I always recommend ordering a salad to start (sorry Italians!), it helps you to fill up (the result of the fibre). I also order extra veggies with the meal instead of finishing the whole loaf of bread. Always ask for salad dressings and sauces on the side, allowing you to monitor quantity. 

When it comes to eating healthy, you are the only one who thinks that you are inconveniencing others. If they care about you they will respect your choices/ look up to you for it and hopefully support you in your decisions.

One meal at a time and then move on. Focus on compassion for yourself, not judgment.

As of the 1st week in December I will be sharing my top strategies for getting through the holidays healthy and happy with my email list. (Healthy and Happy Holiday Guide) Sign up here to join my community and get your free guide.

-Sylvie (OG Lifestyles)


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