It’s the night before you kick off your resolution. This allows you to have free reign over the cookie table and unlimited access to the booze, right? You could go in with this mentality, but that will guarantee a harder start to your new year. Instead, go into New Year’s Eve in hopes of celebrating the year that passed and starting a healthy year ahead.
“No way I'm starting or ending my new year on a ‘simple syrup’ note,” says Talia Pollock, certified health coach and professionally trained plant-based chef. “Instead, I'm going to have packets of stevia in my purse, easily accessible for me to sugary-spike my own cocktails with. Stevia is a no-calorie, plant-derived sweetener that has no impact on our blood sugar, so I'll be ordering cocktails ‘without simple syrup please’ and making them healthfully sweet myself.”
“I drink plenty of ice water. Ice water helps to boost metabolism and staying well hydrated also helps to boost energy and fight against hunger and cravings,” says Erin Palinski-Wade, registered dietitian, certified personal trainer, and certified diabetes educator. “I typically drink a minimum of 64 ounces of ice water on New Year’s Eve along with an extra glass for every glass of alcohol to prevent dehydration and fatigue.
“Before anything, I snack on protein and veggies to fill up,” says Brigitte Theriault, personal chef and healthy eating expert. “This way I'm less tempted to eat a whole pile of cookies or crackers. I never drink on an empty stomach either. If I know there will be no snacks at the party, I have a healthy dinner at home prior.”
“I know exactly how much alcohol it takes for me to get a nice buzz,” Theriault says. “Two [drinks] is ideal and three is max. So I try to stay aware that absolutely nothing good happens after three cocktails, and not being able to get out of bed the next day is not a good way to start the New Year.”
“Healthy apps to ring in the New Year,” Palinski-Wade says. “Everyone loves to snack on New Year’s, but the food is usually packed full of fat and salt, making you feel sluggish as you start off the New Year. Instead, I make appetizers everyone loves that energize instead of zap energy.”
“Whether I'm going to a party or a restaurant, or even just eating at home, I make and take dessert,” Pollock says. “New Year’s Eve is such a celebratory time and there's no way I can count on other places to have a healthy dessert that fits my gluten-free, dairy-free needs and there's also no way that I'd like to wrap up the new year without a sweet treat. So I bring my own! I tell the restaurant that I can't eat any of their offerings and will bring a little something that I can enjoy. I bring a big batch of something to share with everyone at the party, or I enjoy my sweet treat happily at home!"
“Eat every three to four hours throughout the day with meals and snacks packed full of lean protein, healthy fats, and lots of vegetables and fruit,” Palinski-Wade says. “For instance, a breakfast of low-fat cottage cheese and berries, a lunch with a spinach salad topped with grilled chicken, and a snack of pistachios and fresh fruit will keep cravings and hunger at bay and allow you to make the best choices at your event.”
“First, I always plan to exercise in the morning,” says Palinski-Wade. “Not only does this boost my energy to stay up until the ball drops, but it boosts my metabolism and calorie burn to help offset any late night indulgences. I always perform a combination of resistance training (weight lifting) with cardio (brisk walk with varied incline) for the biggest metabolism boost. When lifting weights, I focus on slowly lowering the weights back down to a count of four, which has been shown to increase metabolism further.”
“This New Year’s Eve and last New Year’s Eve are going to be two totally different experiences, but both excellent examples of scanning and planning for the menu,” Pollock says. “Last year, my NYE plans were to go to a big group dinner with a pre fixe meal full of courses I could not (for healthy-dietary reasons) eat! So instead of just, well, not eating, I ate my own full meal before going out, that way I wasn't resentful, tempted, frustrated or starving during the big group meal. This year, I got to choose the restaurant and I did so based on what healthy food I wanted to end and start my year with. I previewed a bunch of menus in advance and found the one with the healthiest options that still will be a great, fun, celebratory environment. That's called taking control of your health!”