by Carina Sohaili of Vibrant Healthy Life

The New Year is here! There is no time for feeling deprived or guilty about food choices (that also is not the answer to a happy life). Below are my simple party tools so you can live your life without the guilt. I also have included two of my healthy cooking videos so you can start the year off right.

Never go to a party starving. Oftentimes when we are stressed out, tired, or cranky, it is because we are eating sugar-packed junk foods and unhealthy sweets with preservatives. By nourishing your body with nutrient-dense foods and always having a healthy snack, you will have increased energy, a calmer demeanor, and be less likely to lose control at the buffet.

One of my favorite snacks is organic, canned pumpkin with a dollop of plain Greek yogurt. This is a great combination of a healthy carbohydrate (from the pumpkin) and protein from the Greek yogurt. I call it my special “bliss in a cup” energizing snack. It is quick, easy to make, and leaves me feeling like I just ate a slice of pumpkin pie. Moreover, the fiber in the pumpkin is great for your digestive system and that post holiday bloat. Check out my YouTube video on how to make it here:

Indulge in a balanced way. If you are craving a serving of pie have a small portion but do not eat three servings. Do you notice how the first serving of an amazing food tastes the best? The food is not as good the second or third time around. This will prevent you from feeling deprived and then overeating later on.

Volunteer to bring a healthy side to your next party or gathering. Not only are you a great guest because you are contributing to the party (the host will love you) but you can ensure that there is something delicious and healthy for you to eat. Bringing a healthy side does not have to be complicated or overwhelming. Check out my recipe and healthy cooking video on Garlic Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes which only takes 15 minutes to make:

Munch on veggies. Oftentimes when we are not hungry but see other people eating it is very easy to mindlessly put food in our bodies. When I am in the mood to munch I always go for veggies. I love carrots because of the vitamin A. It is great for vision, dark circles under your eyes, and an immune system booster.

Eat real food before you reach for the sugary sweets. Fill up on protein before you head to the dessert table. Protein will help stabilize your blood sugar levels and keep you more full and satisfied for a longer amount of time. By eating protein you will reduce your craving for junk food, sweets and the bad stuff. One of my favorite protein appetizer options is shrimp which you can find at most parties (if not, be a great guest and bring a healthy appetizer). Just do not drench your shrimp in the cocktail sauce which normally is made with excessive sugars. Instead squeeze on some freshly sliced lemon for flavor and zest (lemon helps with bloating and is a great immune system booster as well). If you are vegetarian, hummus is normally a party platter favorite and a good source of protein.

Remember, no one is perfect. Set realistic goals that work for you. Embrace this new year by not going on a diet and simply start living a healthier life.

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