With party season here, it goes without saying that a sudden spike in holiday cheer may be accompanied by a corresponding surge in caloric intake. And packing your own juice cleanse for your upcoming trip home isn’t exactly practical (or fun). Fortunately, Whitney Tingle and Danielle DuBoise, founders of the healthy food delivery service Sakara Life (which counts models Lily Aldridge, Erin Heatherton, and Chrissy Teigen as clients), have an infallible and refreshing strategy for enjoying every festive dinner invitation on your calendar.
“Our number one rule for holiday parties is that there are no rules,” says Tingle. Which is to say that rather than arming yourself with a hard set of dos and don’ts, you will have more success if you switch your focus to rejoicing in the party. “The stress and guilt is where people get into trouble,” explains DuBoise. “Remember that this too will pass—and next week you can hit the reset button.” With that in mind, there are certain guidelines that can help you fearlessly raise your glass and fork in the name of seasonal merriment.
“The buffet is the danger zone,” says Tingle, pointing out that arriving hungry and filling your plate with a little bit of everything on the table can easily spiral into more food than you bargained for. She suggests dodging the scenario by snacking on something light before the party begins, like a portion of spaghetti squash and kale, to satiate cravings before the hors d’oeuvres and cheese plate arrive.
If a seated dinner is on the itinerary, DuBoise and Tingle dig into a salad or side vegetable dish as soon as they sit down to distract from the bread basket’s allure. But, as for ordering an entrée, both women suggest eating what you want. If the mac and cheese with truffle oil is beckoning, for example, order one for the table. “You only really ever want a few bites of those things anyway,” says DuBoise, who adds that relegating yourself to the least caloric foods will most likely lead to you nibbling off other people’s plates (or wishing you were). They also advise steering clear of processed foods. “Go for lamb, fish, or anything that’s going to be fresh, nutritious, and made with whole ingredients,” advises Tingle.
And when it comes to champagne or dessert, remember that you’re there to enjoy. Practice moderation by honing in on one thing that you want to splurge on, and sticking with it. Chocolate is always a safe bet, says DuBoise, because it satiates the palate. “There’s no such thing as cheating on your diet,” says Tingle firmly. “Just eat really well tomorrow, and go to Physique 57. One week of parties is not going to kill you.”
Here’s to a social season of eating really, really well.