Holiday Parties 101: What To Eat, What To Avoid, and How To Avoid Self-Sabotage

At SWEAT in Dallas, TX, we know that holiday parties and clean eating have historically never gone hand-in-hand, but just because the holiday season is approaching doesn’t mean that you have to resign yourself to several weeks of unhealthy eating, excess sugar and alcohol, and weight gain. With the right mindset, discipline, and an awareness of how to eat before, during, and after those parties, you can maintain your diet and fitness goals and stay on track despite the holiday season.

The holiday season is officially here, but that doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to months of unhealthy eating, skipping workout sessions, and overindulgence. As long as you use discipline, practice moderation, and employ some tools to prevent sabotaging your body with excess alcohol and sugar, you can continue to work towards and reach different physique goals despite the holiday season.

Volunteer To Bring a Healthy Dish

If you’re attending a pot-luck-style party, always volunteer to bring a healthy dish. Even if it’s not the most popular option on the table, you’ll have a nutritious option you can eat, so you’re not limited to whatever everyone else happens to bring. Salads, clean casseroles, vegetable trays, hummus, and lean proteins are healthy contributions that will ensure you have at least one healthy option you can eat.


Hydration is key during the holiday season. The combination of sugary, carb-loaded, sodium-rich foods with an endless supply of alcohol everywhere is the perfect recipe for bloating. Increasing your water intake is critical to avoid water retention and will also ensure that you feel fuller, so you’re not as tempted to reach for those unhealthy foods. If you can’t resist the wine or cocktails, make sure you drink eight ounces of water per alcoholic drink to avoid dehydration and, more importantly, a hangover that prevents you from making it to the gym the next day.

Eat Before the Party

Just like you should never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach, you should also avoid showing up to a holiday party with an appetite. If you do, you’ll be more tempted to reach for all the foods that don’t support your goals or your health and may end up overindulging. 
Raw nuts, hummus and crudités, a protein shake, or even clean beef jerky are all healthy snack items you can bring with you or eat before the party to help encourage self-control.

Keep Moving

Keeping up with physical activity during the holidays is another important way to maintain your fitness routine despite changes in your diet or environment. If you’re traveling and there’s no gym in sight, that doesn’t mean you have to forgo physical activity for the day. Even if you only take a walk, that walk will benefit you physically, mentally, and emotionally. Walking is often underrated, but it has endless benefits, including: 

  • Building endurance and muscle strength
  • Increasing heart rate
  • Promoting cardiovascular health
  • Releasing endorphins to boost mood
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Burning calories
  • Raising HRV (heart rate variance)
  • Reducing stress levels

Practice Portion Control

When it comes to the holidays, portion control is everything; it’s the golden rule of healthy eating. However, that doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to vegetables and protein during the holiday season. You can indulge in your favorite holiday dessert or cocktail; just make sure you practice moderation. 
One serving of dessert won’t sabotage your goals, but three will. Indulging at one dinner party won’t ruin your diet; indulging every night will. So long as you focus on portion control and moderation, you can make it through the holiday season, guilt-free.

Work With a Personal Trainer

Working with a trainer through the holiday season can give you the accountability you need not just to maintain a healthy weight but even reach new goals, despite the onslaught of holiday parties, cookie exchanges, and desserts everywhere you look. 
Scheduling one-on-one sessions with one of our trainers can help you maintain a consistent workout schedule, even after that holiday party, where you may have typically phoned in your workout or skipped it altogether. That extra added layer of accountability can make a world of difference, especially through the holiday season.

Gain New Fitness Grounds This Holiday Season

Don’t let this holiday season be the reason why you lose all the grounds you’ve gained so far this year. When you enter the season with discipline, practice balance, moderation, and portion control, and commit to maintaining a regular workout routine, you will set yourself up for success. Contact us today at SWEAT in Dallas, TX, to learn more about our personal trainers and memberships that can help keep you accountable this holiday season.