If you have plans to entertain guests who have dietary requirements, or if you want to socialise at home without forgetting your health, then the trick is to be prepared. Are you worried about what are you supposed to do when you have back-to-back drinks evenings planned, special lunch celebrations, dinners with friends and more?  Here are some tips on handling successive engagements.

Drinks Parties

It’s difficult to keep up when you are having late nights and heavy meals, particularly during the holidays. The diary is filling up with work events, dinners with friends and visits from family, but how do you stop yourself from overdoing it at every opportunity?

If you want to have a drink, one of my favorites is the Norcal margarita.  This drink is easier on the system because it is low in carbohydrates, low sugar, and you can top it up with club soda without anyone taking a second look.  What’s in it?  Tequila, the fresh juice/pulp of one lime, club soda and ice and you can keep refilling with club soda and limes as the evening continues.

If you don’t want any alcohol at all, club soda and lime is a great option.  With bubbles in your glass, you feel a bit more celebratory than when just drinking plain water.  You can even go so far as to ask for your water or club soda in a ‘bar’ glass.  That way no one will know the difference between what you are consuming and what the others are having. Most restaurants will also be happy to create a cocktail of your choice but without the booze, so there’s really no need to feel like you are going without!

Endless Feasts

Nothing is worse than feeling heavy, bloated and uncomfortable during and after a party. Sweets, treats, heavy lunches, hor d’oeuvres, and late dinners all add up on the waistline.   With a few tricks up your sleeve, you can eat your way to social acceptability without overdoing it.

At the office, it is slightly easier to pass on mid-day snacks.  If you find yourself reaching for the snacks, you will be less tempted by eating well-balanced meals that keep your energy up throughout the day.  If you experience the 3-4pm slump, have a few small packs of almonds ready to go and a green tea at your desk.  The small caffeine boost plus the good fats and fibre will keep you going until dinnertime.  Eating sweets will only make you more hungry and likely to indulge at your next event.

At lunches and dinner, order what you want, but then eat with cutlery!  Cut up the smallest bites you can and chew your food 20-40 times before swallowing.  Another top tip is spending the time to make eye contact with your colleagues or friends whilst they are talking.  Savour having the time to connect with each other.

If you find that people around you are pushing you to eat more, the other trick is to cut a few bites, take the smallest ones and then gently push the other food around.  With your plate a bit messy, others around you will think you have indulged in the festive offerings.

Hosting at Home

Since becoming gluten and dairy free many years ago, we’ve had to adapt how we eat and entertaine at home. This is particularly evident during holiday season, so we have had to create new traditions for our family.  By incorporating local traditions where we living plus rethinking old recipes, our new holiday celebrations are just as delicious and still conjure the same memories of old with the added benefit of feeling light and cheerful afterwards!

One of our favourites is celebrating Italian-style.  This means lots of beautiful dishes with fish and vegetables as the focus. Eating Well has recipes already done for you starting with a beautiful lemon-garlic shrimp.  If you are vegetarian or vegan, BBC Good Food has an extensive list of delicious dishes to set before your guests.

To complement whatever you are serving, Watson’s wines and some of the grocery stores like Three Sixty, Jason’s and Olivers have a small selection of organic wines.  According to Wine Spectator, USDA organic wines have no added sulfites and grapes are farmed organically.  That means you are serving up a tasty beverage without pesticides or potential headaches.

Other options great options include recipes from the Oh She Glows website.  Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Avocado Garlic Aioli or Gooey Pumpkin Spiced Latte Chocolate Pudding Cake are two examples of the rich, yet healthy, vegan and gluten free recipes on her blog.  Living Without Magazine has great resources for holiday meals that just happen to be allergy friendly, too.

Until next week!

To find out more about natural health and wellness in Hong Kong contact pick up your free copy of Healthy Living Asia Magazine at over 100 locations including your favourite practitioner’s office, health food store or spa.  If you can’t find a copy, just email and have one sent directly to your home.  You can also join the Healthy Living in HK community by sending an email to info@healthylivingasia.com with the subject line “Join Health Living in HK.”

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