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Keeping it Healthy at the Holiday Party

We had a holiday party last weekend and three more this upcoming weekend so this is probably the timeliest post I will ever write! It is amazing how we have SO many holiday parties when we get older. Everyone is ready to celebrate and some people genuinely hold it against you all year long if you do not show up to their party. This has happened to us on several occasions.

Friends gathered around healthy food at holiday party

So now we go to every party we can, which typically means relay marathon nights where we hit 2-3 different parties in a 6-hour time span! It’s exhausting, but good to get us out of the house. So, how does a dietitian keep it all together during the holiday showdown? Check it:

  1. Ask what is on the menu. No shame in asking your friends what they are making. They are usually so jazzed to be hosting a party that they want to talk about it as much as possible. If they have something you can eat (i.e.: meat, veggie tray, fruits) then you are good to go and enjoy yourself! If there is nothing that you can eat, then skip to number 2 or 3.

  2. Ask if you can bring a food dish. This way you KNOW what you are eating and that it won’t give you any problems. Most hosts prefer if everyone pitches in a little something. This is truly the season for “the more the merrier.” Check out my blog for paleo/low-carb holiday potluck dishes that everyone will enjoy.

  3. Eat before you go. We did this before the company holiday party because last year the only thing I could eat was meat (not that I was against that!) This is great for corporate parties that might have lame catering full of sliders and mini chicken and waffles (legit items from one of the company holiday parties we went to this year). Corporate parties are typically at fancy, down-town locations. We used this as an opportunity to eat at a delicious, up-scale restaurant adjacent to the party. When we got to the party, we had some light “Aimee-approved” appetizers, but mostly stuck to socializing. For the sake of time, it is harder to do a pre-game dinner on “marathon nights," but was great for a pre-corporate party that may or may not have decent food.

  4. Bring a back-up for dessert. No one is going to make a paleo dessert unless YOU do it! I’m serious. Brownies, cookies, cake balls etc. None of them will be good to go... especially if you are avoiding gluten. May seem odd, but I have no shame in stashing some dark chocolate in my purse for just this occasion. You can also pull a step #2 and offer to bring a (paleo) dessert. It can be delicious and no one must know it’s (some-what) healthy. Easiest dessert ever are these 3 ingredient sweet potato bites. Cut sweet potatoes into medallions and bake at 400F for 15 minutes. Pull out and top with a marshmallow and broil for 1 minute. Top with pecan and broil for 1 more minute. Easy, done!

  1. Eat food & even dessert BEFORE you booze! Probably the most important tip available that a few people in our party did not follow. Don’t go straight to the bar when you get to the party, but instead hit up the food bar, evaluate your options, choose wisely (not drunkenly), and eat. Once you are nice and satisfied, then you can make your way to the bar. This is important because alcohol lowers your inhibitions. Meaning, you might grab a handful of chips in lieu of the vegetable options. OR you may grab 5 miniature desserts instead of 2. This is also incredibly important for weight loss because once you start drinking your body is focused on getting the alcohol OUT! It doesn’t give a rip about carb metabolism and will typically store much easier. So, eat first, booze later, if at all!

  2. Be the DD. May sound lame but this is a sure-fire way to not drink too much and load up on poor food choices. Plus, if you are having a marathon night of parties, someone needs to get everyone from point A to B and C. So, consider making a smart choice and forgoing the booze!

cheers. Drink with confetti at holiday party

These tips may seem simple, but once faced with the situation making these little changes can become a real challenge. If you are able to pull 2 or 3 of these off then you are doing better than most. If you need help managing the holidays, please feel free to reach out to me at or give me a call 210-920-0669.

If you are working your tail off on to get your blood sugar under control or are following the Autoimmune Paleo Protocol, click the link below to check out my new crash courses!

Link to AIP and Diabetes Crash Courses

Hope you all have a great holiday season!

Aimee Paladino

The Functional RD

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