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7 tips to party the healthier way this holiday season

by SmartyPants Staff

'Tis the season to be merry. Whether you're planning a holiday party or attending one, copious amounts of chocolates, festive treats, libations and oh, the cheese (we're looking at you honey nut baked brie) are likely in your near future.

So, how does one navigate the holidays with their gastrointestinal tract still intact?

With just a few tiny tweaks you can help make your holiday a little healthier while still staying BIG on fun. After all, this is the most wonderful time of the year.

From healthy holiday drink recipes to pre-partying with... potassium, try our 7 tips below to have happy (and healthier) holiday season:

 

1. Spice up your drink menu

How about a little herb with that drink? No we don't mean that kind. 

Herbs and spices have been used for centuries for both their culinary and medicinal purposes.

You probably never gave cinnamon and sage much thought outside the kitchen. However, these and other herbs are packed with nutrients that can offer many health benefits.

A few just so happen to pair particularly well with holiday refreshments. Now you just have to decide whether you want it shaken or stirred:

CAYENNE PEPPER:
  • Helps promote digestion, circulation, a healthy inflammatory response
  • Some studies suggest it may help boost your metabolism!
  • Contains vitamin C, B6, E, potassium, manganese and antioxidant flavonoids
Try it in: The Spicy Grapefruit Margarita by The Life Styled

CINNAMON:
  • Loaded with antioxidants and promotes a healthy inflammatory response
  • May help stabilize blood sugar
  • Pro Tip - There are two kinds of cinnamon: Ceylon and Cassia. We recommend you look for Ceylon cinnamon. It has the most research-backed benefits.
Try it in: Eggnog by The Prairie Homestead

SAGE:
  • Known for antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties
  • Part of the mint family alongside oregano, lavender, rosemary and basil
  • There are more than 900 species of sage
Try it in: The Sage Bee’s Knees Cocktail by Salt & Wind

BASIL:
  • Helps promote a healthy inflammatory response 
  • Packed with antioxidants
  • Has been shown to help protect the liver and support the immune system
Try it in: Tito’s Pocket Fours 

ELDERFLOWER:
  • Have been used in traditional medicine and traditional cocktail recipes for hundreds of years!
  • Rich in antioxidants and contain antiviral and immune-supporting properties
  • Primary ingredient in St. Germain liqueur
Try it in: Elderflower Gin Fizz by Food Republic 


But won’t mixing with alcohol defeat the purpose?

Actually, it’s just the opposite!

Mixing herbs and a high-proof alcohol, such as vodka, is how the herbal remedy known as a tincture is made. The alcohol acts as a solvent, helping the plant release its alkaloids, glycosides, minerals, and essential oils.

Of course, too much alcohol will definitely defeat the purpose of any health-promoting food or practice. Remember to keep moderation in mind and hydrate with H2O between drinks. .

2. Pre-party with potassium  

Electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium are minerals with an electric charge that help us stay hydrated. It’s important to maintain a balance of these minerals.

Drinking too much alcohol and eating too many salty foods (a likely possibility at any holiday gathering) can throw our electrolytes out of whack. Foods and beverages that contain potassium can help keep you in balance.

Here are our picks for foods high in potassium because they contain at least 20% of the recommended daily value (DV):

  • Avocado (1 cup or 280 grams - 21% DV)
  • Spinach, cooked boiled and drained without salt (1 cup or 180 grams - 24% DV)
  • Sweet potato, cooked and baked in skin (1 cup or 200 grams - 27% DV)
  • Bananas, raw (1 cup mashed or 225 grams - 23% DV) 

If you're not already, try incorporating these foods into your diet to help up your potassium. Plus, they foods are packed with many other healthy vitamins and nutrients too!

3. Go top shelf

If you're going to drink or are stocking up for thirsty guests, try and steer clear of the cheap booze. 

Alcohol contains a variety of different compounds known as congeners, which are byproducts of the fermentation process. Dark liquors such as whiskey and bourbon are thought to have more than lighter options like vodka and rum.

Congeners can include fusel alcohols, acetone, esters and aldehydes. They're largely responsible for the taste and smell of different alcohols and are thought to be one of the primary causes of hangovers.

Basically, more congeners = worse hangover symptoms. However, distillation and filtration help remove these compounds.

So, the next time you're shopping for spirits, look for bottles with the most numbers of distillations (i.e. triple-distilled whisky). It may not be the cheapest option, but you'll thank us in the morning.

4. Eat protein and fat (the good kind)

Fat slows nutrient absorption and together with protein helps keep you feeling full. Eating protein and healthy fats can also help mediate the rate at which alcohol and sugar enter your bloodstream.

If you're hungry before the festivities begin, try fueling up with foods that include protein and/or healthy fat , such as an avocado, nuts, seeds, peanut butter or even a hard boiled egg.

They're easy on-the-go snacks and can help prevent you from ravenously devouring the first tray of passed apps you see at the party.

5. Just dance

Richard Simmons lost 123 pounds just by sweatin’ to the oldies. So, what are you waiting for?

You can burn over 400 calories per hour just dancing, not to mention the fun that comes with watching everyone show off their moves (or lack thereof).

The key is to move your whole body. We like high kicks and fist pumps for maximum burn.

If you need more inspiration, check out a few of old school classics: The Elaine Dance, The Urkel, and (obviously) The Whip / Nae Nae.

6. Be pro probiotics

Prosciutto wrapped dates and grandma's famous butter pecan cookies and double chocolate fudge. Oh my! With so many different (and rich) foods on the menu, it might be time for a gut check.

Probiotics supplements, like our Adult Formula and Kids Formula prebiotic and probiotic gummies, can help. Both formulas are designed to support digestive and immune health.*

Prebiotics support the growth of good bacteria and your immune system.* While probiotics support digestion and balanced microflora in the gut.*

At SmartyPants, we use probiotics with a 95% survivability rate to ensure the majority of this good bacteria actually makes it to your gut alive where it can flourish and promote digestive health and healthy immune function.* No refrigeration needed. 

7. Don't stress

Parties should be fun – not an occasion you worry about what to eat and drink. Not only does stress ruin your good time, it can also make you gain weight.

Our stress hormone, cortisol, increases appetite and promotes fat storage, especially around the mid-section.

Rather than stress out about what you’re eating, or trying not to eat, focus on enjoying yourself and the people you’re with.

This is the season of decadence, and you deserve to treat yourself. Armed with these tips we hope you can have your cake, and eat it too (literally). 

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease.

 Explore SmartyPants Probiotic Formulas

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