‘My diet is pretty well most of the time,’ says Kerry, Good Food’s nutritionist, ‘but the party season is tricky. Here are my strategies for coping with the overindulgence and late nights that are an inevitable but enjoyable part of the festive season.’
1. Start the day with a healthy breakfast
If I’m going out in the evening, I’ll start the day with a generous bowl of porridge, topped with a handful of cranberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon. Porridge stabilizes blood sugar levels, which helps control appetite later in the day. I also add a good dollop of probiotic yoghurt, which helps support the immune system and promote digestive health, as well as combat some of the less beneficial effects of the party season, like too much alcohol and not enough sleep.
2. Stay hydrated
On the day of a big night out, and the day after, I make a conscious effort to drink six eight-ounce glasses of water or plenty of herbal teas or diluted juice. Even mild dehydration can lead to a headache and combined with the diuretic effects of alcohol, makes maintaining your fluid intake so important. Regular teas and coffee count towards your fluid intake, but caffeinated versions shouldn’t make up your full quota. I sometimes struggle to drink enough when it’s cold, kamagra jelly so I’ll take a full glass of water to bed with me at night and start the day with a second. I make sure I’ve drunk both before I have my breakfast.
3. Include healthy and well-timed snacks
If I’m hungry when I arrive at a party, I struggle to resist the canapés, so I always have a pre-party snack. One of my favorites is a small pot of plain yoghurt with a sliced banana. The yoghurt’s protein slows stomach emptying, which helps delay the effects of that first glass of wine while the potassium-rich banana helps balance any increase in my salt intake – especially helpful if I’m going to be nibbling on olives, crisps or salted nuts. I know I’m better off eating before I go to a party because I’m more likely to stick to my resolve when the canapés come round a second or third time. Other snacks which do the trick include granary toast with nut butter, a bowl of muesli with milk, or a mug of chunky vegetable soup.
4. Make healthier choices at party buffets
Buffets can be a disaster zone, so I make sure I fill half my plate with salad and vegetables, and the rest with protein-based canapés like salmon and chicken. I take my time selecting and eating my food and I move away from the table as soon as my plate is full so I avoid non-stop grazing. Discover more top tips for making healthy food choices at parties and our best healthier canapé ideas.
5. Prevent a hangover
Don’t be tempted to skip meals so you can stockpile calories for drinking. Alcohol only supplies empty calories, so avoiding proper meals to compensate for a booze splurge means you’re losing out on valuable nutrients, just when your body needs them to help it detoxify. To help prevent a hangover, stick to one type of drink and I make it a lighter-colored one because they tend to be lower in the chemical by-products that can worsen a hangover. Aim to have no more than one alcoholic drink an hour, alternated with juice, water or soft drinks – perfect if you don’t like holding an empty glass.
6. Eat well the morning after
My best morning after breakfast is a frittata or omelette packed with veg. I love mushrooms for their energizing B vitamins, tomatoes for vitamin C and onions for their liver-friendly sulfur compounds. If I have spinach to hand I’ll add a generous handful because it’s a great source of folate which helps my body repair DNA. Eggs are an excellent choice for the morning after because they provide choline, a nutrient that supports the liver. Add a sprinkle of cayenne pepper or chopped chili to boost circulation and rev up your recovery. If you can’t face a cooked breakfast then have a smoothie made with fruits like bananas, oranges or kiwi – these are rich in potassium which helps replenish the electrolytes lost due to the diuretic effects of alcohol.
7. Get right back on track
After a big night out I don’t skip meals, even if I have over-indulged. After all, it’s the balance of your diet that’s important. I apply the 80:20 principle – eating healthily 80% of the time, which allows me the space for delicious treats at weekends and on special occasions.