It’s that time of year again where the party season is in full flow. It’s a time where everyone should be in good spirits, surrounding themselves with great food, music, and most importantly, great company. It can sometimes be a bit of a challenge to stay on track with your Paleo lifestyle at this time of the year, especially if your family and friends aren’t as conscious about their health as you are. Thankfully, there are plenty of ways that you can stay on your path to better health, whilst not missing out on any of the enjoyment of the holiday season.
1. Be careful at the buffet
This one is self explanatory, but if you’re at a social event hosted by a non Paleo friend or family, the chances are the buffet table will be laden with gluten, sugar, and countless additives. If you’re hungry and don’t want to miss out on the social connection of eating with friends, head straight for the crudités. Filling your plate with crunchy raw vegetables will help you stay sociable and have a full plate at the same time. You may be lucky and find some nice meats, hardboiled eggs, and maybe even some salted nuts. Just watch out for anything swimming in sauce, as its most probably ‘enhanced’ with sugar and some kind of thickening agent.
Sometimes it can come across rude asking ‘can you check the ingredients in that?’ or ‘are those sausages gluten free?’ – so it’s best to stick to the food you know will be safe. If you’re really concerned there will be nothing for you to eat, tip number 2 is something worth bearing in mind.
2. Eat before you leave
If you don’t want to risk being gluten bombed at the buffet, I’d recommend eating a good meal before you leave. It might mean changing around your meal times slightly, but it’s much better to leave the house knowing you have eaten well, rather than fret about the lack of healthy options when you arrive. If there is anything suitable for you, then hey, it’s a bonus!
3. Experiment with IF
If you’ve never tried Intermittent Fasting before, now could be as good a time as ever. If you’re going to be travelling to visit relatives, or at long events where there may be a lack of good food options, why not try incorporating a 12 – 24 hour fast into your day?
4. Paleo cocktails
If you’re at a social event where the drinks are flowing, you may be presented with a lack of options. If you want to stay alcohol free, there are plenty of great non alcoholic cocktails you can make. Equally, a sparkling water with some ice and a wedge of lime is refreshing and looks sociable.
If you want to treat yourself to a drink or two, do so. You deserve it. Just stay away from the beer and high sugar mixers if you can. Your best choices would be red or white wine, but if you’re in the mood for spirits, look towards cocktails made with tequila or rum. Try and mix them with low sugar options like sparkling water or vegetable based juices to avoid blood sugar crashes. Dark rum and coconut water is incredibly refreshing, and the electrolytes in the coconut water will counteract the dehydrating effect of the alcohol.
5. Throw your own
If you really can’t face a non Paleo party, why not throw your own instead? You don’t have to make a big fuss about the health benefits of your food – simply serve up lots of tasty meat, veggies, and Paleo friendly drinks and nibbles. You’ll be able to spend good quality time with your friends and family, whilst being able to enjoy clean, wholesome food at the same time. Chances are, they’ll be none the wiser either!
6. Take advantage of the extra free time with long walks
We know how important it is to move often, so try and incorporate a good amount of movement into your day where you can. If you can’t get to a gym, you can’t beat a long walk with friends or family. Alternatively, head to your local park in the morning for a few sprints and pull ups using tree branches. You’ll have some extra free time (hopefully!) so put it to good use with a bit of exercise every day.
7. Sleep well
Again, take advantage of the extra free time and focus on getting some good quality sleep. Aim for at least 8 hours a night, and as you have no work to set an alarm for, wake up when the sun wakes up to reset your circadian rhythm.
8. Don’t worry too much!
Last but not least, if you do fall off track, don’t beat yourself up about it. Wake up the next morning, and get back on the Paleo wagon. After all, you have eaten healthily for the other 364 days of the year – we’re all entitled to ‘off’ days every now and then. Simply put it to the back of your mind and move on. The most important thing about this time of the year is the people you spend it with, and a bit of a slip up every now and then won’t hurt you.