Come winter, a thick, creamy, hearty soup after some gentle exercise is often just the thing the doctor would order.
Reset your body with a low-key afternoon of yoga followed by a meal of soup and salad. Have each guest bring a container of their favorite healthy vegetable-based soup to hand out, along with the recipe. Hire an instructor from a local studio (or pop in a DVD) to come lead the group in some gentle moves that will help kick-start your post-holiday detox from the inside out before sitting down to a soup meal.
No, it's not the kind of LNDP you might have taken part in in college. If you’re not into running, hiking, or biking, dancing is a great form of exercise if it elevates your heart rate. And surrounded by friends (and some great tunes), you'll find an hour flies by all too easily.
Start the night with a spa-style dinner party, or roll your own sushi and summer rolls (and perhaps drink some wine, if you need to loosen up a bit). After dinner, move away the couches and put on a playlist of all your dance party favorites, be it '80s or modern-day classics like "Sweet Caroline" and "Don’t Stop Believin'" or a Zumba playlist (if you can teach others the moves). Then dance the pounds away.
OK, we know most of you have thought about doing a juice cleanse at some time or another. Then the reality of making your own juice for 48 hours (if you’re not doing a program like Blueprint) sets in — and the fact that you’re at it alone. So why not do it as a group?
Instead of a spa weekend, and have a staycation at home. Serve up juices for breakfast and lunch (if you have a juicer), then a light and healthy salad for dinner. With friends around for support, you’ll be less likely to break down to the call of the chocolate in the cabinet. Throw in some gentle yoga, walks, and girl talk around the fire — it’s almost as good as wine night.
After a month of holiday parties, heavy foods, and visiting relatives, we often need a day of rest and relaxation to reset. But instead of heading to the spa, bring the spa home.
Hire a local massage therapist or student (start here or contact a local massage school) to come give treatments in your home. Start off the get-together with smoothies made to order and set out a bowl of fresh fruit and raw almonds for snacking. Put on some Enya music, and set out blankets for reading — who knew an afternoon of silence could be so decadent?
After the excesses of the holidays, indulging in our favorite comfort foods is often not on the agenda come January. Instead of dreading a month of chicken broth and salad (that diet won’t last long), challenge friends to lighten up one of their comfort food favorites, be it by adding in creamy butternut squash purée and chopped kale to that mac 'n' cheese or swapping out traditional pasta for zucchini "pasta" under that meaty Bolognese, then bring a batch to share around the table (and the recipe, too!)
Make good on your New Year’s resolution to run a race this year by teaming up with friends. Get together a group and sign up for a local road race. Design group tees that say "Will Run for [Insert your favorite food/drink here]" for race day and then continue the party after you’ve crossed the finish line by having brunch together out (or at home).
Don’t have a race to run? Create your own weekly run and breakfast tradition for a weekend morning. It’s a fun activity to do with friends, and you won’t be tempted to skip a workout when people are relying on you.
We’re not talking a proper tea like you might find at a fancy hotel in the U.K. In the place of scones, tea sandwiches, and crumpets and clotted cream, serve up nutritious alternatives such as spiced popcorn, tomato soup shooters, and a sprouted bean salad along with a "bar" of brewed teas and juices for guests to mix up their own tea-based mocktail (yes, served in a wine or martini glass, complete with garnishes of mint, skewered fruit, or a twist of lemon) or smoothie.
You might have bought the Wii for the kids, but when it’s too cold to head out for your morning walk, make that Wii you and your friends’ best friend.
Aside from Wii Fit, set up a series of stations, so while some guests can challenge themselves to a tennis match or dance class, others can do sit-ups, push-ups, and jumping jacks while they wait. After an hour workout, sit down to a healthy breakfast, be it make-your-own yogurt parfaits or spinach omelettes with fruit salad and toast.