It’s Friday! You worked all week, made healthy meals, hit the gym, ran errands, did laundry, walked the dog, and cleaned the house. Now, you think, it’s time for a reward – Happy Hour. So, do you ditch the diet and savor a sweet syrupy mudslide while popping pieces of fried calamari and gossiping with friends? Or do you go home and slump into your couch with a bowl of salad? Fortunately, staying healthy and leading an active social life doesn’t have to be so black and white. Enter Kelly Milton. Kelly is an expert when it comes to paleo entertaining and navigating the social scene. She blogs at paleogirlskitchen.com and is the author of Paleo Happy Hour. In this guest post, she outlines ten party rules that will help you stay paleo in a social setting without feeling excluded or falling off the paleo wagon.
The 10 Paleo Party Rules!
One of the biggest challenges as a paleo follower can be the desire for an active social life. You still want to meet up with friends for dinner, attend parties and throw them; all while feeling included and true to your diet. Drinking alcohol is not paleo, it’s true, but it is a part of many people’s lives. The paleo community hasn’t spent much time laying out your options for alcohol and mixers. Also, even if you feel confident in what to drink, the social scene can still pose many other challenges. For some quick tips to keep in mind when attending social functions, I have created The 10 Paleo Party Rules.
1. Food First
Think about food before anything else. If you will be going out drinking, eat a high protein low carbohydrate meal beforehand. You will get plenty of carbohydrates in your cocktails, so stick to protein and non-starchy vegetables for your pre-party meal while making sure to get in some healthy fats. A full stomach helps slow down the absorption of alcohol. WARNING: Do not skip dinner because you are planning on “drinking” your dinner. Alcoholic beverages can cause blood sugar spikes. By skipping a meal you will only make blood sugar spikes worse, causing an increase in the absorption of alcohol.
Eating after you have been drinking is another issue. You may find yourself hungry without any paleo options. So, pack a snack in your purse, pocket, or car (like trail mix or jerky) so you won’t be tempted to eat pizza at 2 a.m. If you’re going to a dinner or house party, bring a healthy food option to share so you aren’t stranded with nothing to eat.
2. Be Prepared
Set goals for the night before you go out. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, men should have no more than four drinks on a single day and fourteen per week; women no more than three drinks per day and seven per week. Keep in mind serving sizes on typical drinks when counting. Decide how many alcoholic beverages you plan to drink that night before you go. Also, the act of planning a cut-off point can help you to remember to count your drinks throughout the night and stay at a low and healthy number. Rehearse turning down unhealthy options like sugary mixed shots or chips and spinach dip. This will make it easier when the foreseeable challenges arise.
3. Practice the Every-Other Rule
This rule is to alternate water between each alcoholic drink. When you are at a party it is comfortable to have a drink in hand, but no one said that it had to be alcoholic. Try having water between alcoholic drinks. This will help keep you hydrated and reduce the number of alcoholic drinks you consume. There is a misconception that having water will sober you up. However, the hydration you will get from the water can help save you from a hangover and slow your overall consumption of alcohol.
4. Be a Giver
Share your new favorite paleo drink or food recipe. Don’t hold out on your friends! Bring healthy food and drink options to any party. Nothing is worse than feeling left out because there are no paleo options at a party, so be proactive in bringing your own food and drinks with you. Here are 50 paleo appetizers and some paleo drinks that you can bring to any party. Also, check out this infographic for more paleo drink ideas (click to enlarge):
5. Use Your Carbs
Ditch your drink, and get on the dance floor. Move while you are out partying. Dancing, walking between bars and restaurants, or standing (away from the buffet table) will help use up those extra carbs. Plus, getting on the dance floor allows you to leave your drink behind and free up your arms for dancing!