For many of us, trying to keep our weight and our health on track during the many temptations of the holiday season can be rough. Especially with all the cookies, cakes, chocolates, sweet drinks, and many other goodies surrounding us! On top of having them at work and at the house more than normal, we often go to many parties, all of which tend to be centered around delicious, but not so nutritious, food. This can be tough to resist and many of us give in to the temptation and our health and waistlines suffer.
What if, instead of food and treats, your holiday fun and parties were centered around some good non-food festivities? This idea is actually quite the win-win situation for most people. Think about it. This is the time of year we all tend to worry about too much sugar, junk food, and the resulting expanding waistline. But in the midst of worrying about this for ourselves, we tend to still bake an array of goodies for friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers, forgetting that they likely have the same desire to not overindulge during this time. Hosting a party centered around fun instead of food can be a great way of helping yourself and your friends stay healthy this holiday season!
To help encourage you to focus more on non-food ideas, we’ve listed some fun ways to celebrate that don’t involve any food at all!
Keep Small Puzzles and Games at Hand: Food is often used as a tool to keep your hands busy, thereby making engaging in conversation easier and less awkward for people getting to know each other. How about instead of having trays of food, you lay out trays with homemade play-dough, various Rubiks cubes, a slinky, or other creative small little toys and trinkets to help people play and have fun and still have something to keep their hands, and minds, busy!
Offer Flavored Water: Have a selection of flavored waters available, as you normally would a drink bar. But instead of having hot chocolate, cider, soda pop, or egg nog, instead have a drink bar with cucumber water, citrus water, or other fun and unique flavored waters.
Have a Purpose: Have a main plan for the party that is fun and not centered around food. Consider an ugly sweater competition, a game of white elephant, find the Christmas elf, etc.
Be Active and Play: Another great way to celebrate this season is to actively do something. Scavenger hunts (especially ones that are holiday themed), for instance, can be a great deal of fun and create long-lasting laughs and memories for all involved.
Create Holiday Decorations: Have a wreath decorating party. Instead of bringing food, have everyone brink a basic, undecorated wreath or garland and have a party to decorate wreaths. There can even be a fun competition at the end.
Drink Tea: Have a tea tasting party. Tea is not a drink that is going to wreck any weight loss goals (unless sugar is added). So why not have a tea tasting party, with a variety of high quality herbal tea choices? Then enjoy sitting around the fire with good company, enjoying the different tea options.
Get Outside During the Day: For all the active ones out there, why not do a daytime get together and go for a snow hike or snow shoeing adventure. Or go as families and friends to pick out the perfect Christmas tree.
Attend a Community Event: Go out on the town and celebrate by attending a holiday event. Things like Christmas movies, plays such as the Nutcracker, or Christmas concerts can be fun ways to have fun and enjoy good company without any junk food.
Watch Christmas Movies: Have a group over to have a Christmas movie marathon.
Serve Others: One great way to bond and have a truly wonderful celebration during the holiday season is to give help or spread holiday cheer to others. So why not have a “party” centered around spreading cheer? Here are some suggestions:
- Go Christmas caroling, especially to places where people are lonely or in need, such as nursing homes or hospitals.
- Help elderly people do their Christmas shopping.
- Have a Christmas toy and/or clothing drive to donate to families and children in need.
- Rake leaves or shovel snow for someone you know who has a hard time doing it themselves.
- Make holiday cards to send to the troops or those in the hospital.
- Participate in or start a food drive to donate to the local food bank.
These are just some of our suggestions; the options are really endless and can be uniquely designed around your time schedule and abilities! Also remember too, there is nothing wrong with serving healthy food at your holiday gathering. Healthy food can still be made in a delicious, fun, and festive manner. Veggie trays, vegetable soups, fruit salads, hard boiled eggs, fresh salads, quinoa salads, or other such foods are great options to please many at your party. And, chances are, your friends and family are going to appreciate having a party with some healthy options!