10 Ways to a Healthy Holiday
Keeping your blood sugar stable will help reduce stress—not to mention recreational eating. The ideal snack is less than 200 calories and includes a mix of protein and fiber-rich carbs. Try GG bran crackers (each has 12 calories and 5 grams of fiber) covered with almond butter, or half a green apple slathered with a wedge of Laughing Cow light cheese.
Squeeze in a Mini Workout
If you can't find an hour to hit the gym, don't sweat it. In his book The Ultimate New York Diet, trainer David Kirsch offers a surprisingly effective 10-minute express workout: Start with 10 to 15 reps each of push-ups and lunges (on both sides), then hold a plank position for 30 seconds to one minute on each side. Repeat circuit two to three times. Done!
It may sound nutty, but research shows that munching with your nondominant hand can decrease how much you consume by 30 percent, says nutritionist Susan Albers, author of Eating Mindfully. Nosh off a red plate if you are ambidextrous. "Whether it's a dish or a stop sign, our minds think stop when we see red," she says.
To ensure your skin looks flawless, N.Y.C. dermatologist Neil Sadick suggests getting a deep-pore-cleaning facial two weeks before your big events. "Extraction is very important," says the doctor. "If you go into the season with clogged pores, you're much more likely to break out." To boost radiance and improve skin tone, he also recommends Clear + Brilliant, a new noninvasive laser treatment with little to no downtime (approximately $500).
Re-Gift the Sweets
If you're the type who can have just one ounce of dark chocolate, then by all means indulge (as you may have heard, it's teeming with antioxidants). As for the rest of us? Palm off those treats as hostess gifts—and quell your sweet tooth with chocolate tea instead.
NUMI Organic Chocolate Pu-Erh tea, $8; drugstore.com.
Work Those Curves
A flowy number might look pretty, but body-conscious may be a better way to go when dressing for a holiday get-together, advises nutritionist Heather Bauer. "If you wear something snug, you're more aware of how much you're eating," she says.
Milk It For All It's Worth
To enjoy those cocktails without getting tipsy—and to avoid a queasy rendezvous with bad diner food in the early A.M.—eat or drink something before going out. Albers suggests a glass of 1 or 2 percent milk (almond milk works too). "It helps prevent dehydration and also neutralizes the acidity of the alcohol," says Albers. "What's more, the fat and protein in it slows the absorption of alcohol into your bloodstream."
Stock Your Bedside
If you don't want to wake up with dehydrated skin, follow this prep step prior to party time. Leave skin wipes, an Evian mist, and an overnight hydration mask on your nightstand. When you get home, just before crashing, wipe off the makeup, spritz your face, then seal in moisture with the mask. Finish by downing a glass (or three) of ice water.
DR. JART Premium Firming Sleeping mask, $48; sephora.com.
Know Thy Nibbles
When surrounded by pigs-in-puff-pastry blankets, what's a health-minded girl to do? Reach for smarter bites on the appetizer platter. Especially good are those containing lean protein, like chicken skewers or shrimp on a cucumber slice. And feel free to dive into the dry-roasted nuts. "High in potassium, they'll help balance fluid levels to stave off morning-after alcohol headaches," says nutritionist Christine Avanti.
Think Before You Drink
Pick your wine carefully. A good rule of thumb: the higher the alcohol level (10 to 15 percent is the range), the more calories. So scan the label to see just how lethal your libation is. Dry white wines, such as sauvignon blanc, tend to be the kindest calorie-wise (about 120 calories per 5 ounces). If you really want to cut back, opt for one of the new low-calorie wines and stick to a two-drink rule. They have a lower alcohol content, so you'll also feel better the next day.
THE SKINNY VINE Slim Chardonnay, $9; Kamazon.com.