This time of year is tough! Every event we attend is packed with alcohol and holiday treats. It’s hard to resist all that sugar even though we know it doesn’t make us feel good.

These are my practical, healthy holiday party tricks:

1. Sip like a Parisian. While I was in France I was amazed by the small wine glasses at all the bistros and cafés. By American standards these wine glasses were tiny. This got me thinking about how the French drink as a compliment to food and savor their small glasses along with a great meal. The enormous Bordeaux glasses that you often see here, are an American creation, and can contribute to over drinking. When possible, drink from a smaller glass while sipping wine.

2. Fix yourself a small plate. Never, ever hover over the hor d’oeuvers table. It is important that you indulge in your favorite holiday treats. I can’t imagine this time of year without a little peppermint bark or gingerbread cookies. The trick is, grab a small plate or napkin, fill it up with all your fav holiday treats and enjoy.  Hovering over the hor d’oeuvers table just opens the opportunity for you to nibble for hours. Better to indulge, fully enjoy it, and feel satisfied than to nibble constantly.

3. Eat dinner before you go. We have all heard this before but it’s true that if you eat a healthy dinner before you go, you will eat less of those mini lobster mac and cheeses than you would if you were really hungry.

4. Sip champagne with strawberries or cranberries. Cocktails are very high in sugar. The combo of sugar and alcohol is not good for us and can leave us feeling less than stellar the next day. Try a festive glass of champagne with muddled cranberries instead.

5. Drink red wine rather than white. When enjoying a glass of wine, red wine is by far, the better choice. Red wine contains less sugar than white. Additionally, there are some nutrients and antioxidants in red wine that can be beneficial. The caveat is, after one glass the negatives of the alcohol outweigh the positives of the antioxidants.

6. Eliminate sugary cocktails. Replace cocktails with vodka soda,  or the Paleo Margarita recipe below.

7. Bring your own healthy dish to munch on. Even if the hostess doesn’t ask you to bring anything, consider bringing your own dish. I am gluten intolerant. Friends and Co-workers will often try to accommodate, but I have found it is always better to bring my own. I have brought a fun dish to parties making the excuse, “I was dying to try this new recipe and wanted to share it with everyone” Do this graciously as you don’t want to offend anyone.

8. Drink alcohol with a meal rather than while around snacky food like chips or dessert. For me, alcohol is like a gateway drug for eating everything in site. Drinking often leads to unhealthy snacking. Since alcohol can act as a poison in our system, our body may be triggering us to eat in order to help absorb the alcohol. Keep this in mind and don’t drink on an empty stomach.

9. Dance! Drink and dance rather than drink and stand around. It will help to burn off the alcohol and you will feel better the next day.

10. Don’t over commit. Say No. Even the most fun party can feel like a drag if you are exhausted. Choose just a handful of holiday events to attend. Graciously decline the rest. This one is tough because we often allow ourselves to feel guilty. Decide what will help to alleviate the guilt. For example, send a handwritten note, set a coffee date with the friend after the holiday rush, send them a holiday gift, etc. Make sure that you make time for the holiday activities you most want to do.

Saying no to a few activities may make the difference between a joyful holiday season and a hectic one.

Paleo Margarita Recipe

1 shot tequila
handful of ice
1/2 of a lime, fresh squeezed (add more lime juice to taste)
1/8 of an orange, fresh squeezed (Optional ingredient. The orange does add a little extra sugar. Use sparingly. Do not use orange juice from a carton.)

Shake all ingredients together. Garnish with a wedge of lime or orange. Salt is optional.

Allison Vernon Thompson is dedicated to exposing the naked truth about health and wellness. She is the creator of Our Naked Life, an online community dedicated to celebrating, motivating, and educating women on our path to vibrant energetic health. She works one-on-one with clients in Tribeca, New York. Allison holds a BFA in Dance Performance with an emphasis in Kinesiology. She is a board certified Health Coach, certified personal trainer, and Pilates mat instructor.