Keeping clients true and consistent to health and nutrition goals is possible during holiday celebrations. Convert a potentially challenging time into teachable moments for your clients.
Here’s a list of 5 strategies that you can teach clients to use and leverage during parties and potlucks:
1. Bring or find supportive people at the event.
This can be extremely beneficial as there is power in numbers. I refer to this as “calling in your cheerleaders.” Who at the party can help to hold you accountable, without holding you hostage or treating you like an overly doting and concerned friend/family member?
Are there other people in your family or at the event who are also on special diets or have fitness and health goals? Are there people who eat similarly to you? You can talk to these folks ahead of time and make a plan to hold each other accountable as needed during the party.
If this isn’t an option, think about others who would be supportive. Sometimes a pleasant side effect or reaction can be that whoever you ask for support from (whether they are on a diet/food plan or not) may want to start on a program with you!
2. Bring a ‘safe dish’ so you know there is at least one thing at the party you can enjoy.
Find a recipe that you feel would be popular with most people attending the potluck that also fits into your diet/meal plan. Cook and bring it to the party. This way, at least you have one dish that is ‘safe.’
3. If it’s a work or family event (and you can), volunteer to be on the planning committee.
Whether this event is a family function or work-related, there’s always the need for someone or a group of people to organize it. If able, willing, and you have the time, by being part of the group who plans the event, you would be able to influence the food choices or themes in a positive/healthful manner.
By steering the food options at the event towards something like a taco bar, baked potato, or buffet theme. Having buffet themes can allow for a myriad of options to choose from salads and building a healthy entrée and having fruit as dessert!
4. Eat a small, healthy snack before you go.
This is very similar to the whole “don’t go to a grocery store and buy groceries on an empty stomach.” By making sure you aren’t hungry before a party or potluck, you can curb the number of unnecessary hunger calories that can potentially be consumed.
5. Plan an ‘out’ or exit strategy if you find yourself really ‘falling off.’
Letting the party hosts know in advance you have another obligation to go to right after allows you to have an exit strategy where you can quickly leave if you start to get antsy and find yourself caving into cravings.
This can be tricky if you are on the planning committee and it needs your assistance during the party. In this case, you can let the planning committee know in advance that you may need to leave early. Keep your obligations during the event to a minimum as you helped plan and organize the food choices for the event.
Talking with your clients about how to approach potlucks and parties provides them with tools to implement so they can stay on track amidst the excess and unusual food tempting them this time of year.