Top tips for business travellers going to festive functions

Festive functions come thick and fast at this time of year, creating great opportunities for networking in a relaxed atmosphere.  Regional specialities of foods and drinks are often served in generous helpings.  Handled carefully, this can be great fun but travelling to functions can get Boxing Day Buffet Lunch Christmas Tree and Log Firevery tiring, and too much indulgence leaves us feeling drained. 

 The Scary Part

Average weight gained over the festive season is claimed to be between 0.8 and 2.3kg according to recent Telegraph and Guardian newspaper articles.

There isn’t much consensus on the true amount gained, but everyone agrees that we do tend to gain weight, and once gained, it is very hard to shift.

The scariest predictions assume that we will eat an extra 500kcal daily, and that the season for indulgence starts early and finishes into January.    


1. Arriving Hungry, Thirsty and Tired  Our liver needs water to detoxify alcohol. Wine and strong cocktails will cause dehydration.  

If drinking alcohol enjoy long dinks such as spritzers or beer. We don’t dehydrate with drinks under 5% alcohol. Alternate fizzy or regular water, Buckthorn tea with honeywith alcoholic drinks. We also need more water if we eat salty snacks like crisps.

2. Stay Hydrated

Drinking alcohol on an empty stomach causes rapid intoxication, and arriving thirsty can tempt us to drink too fast. To stay alert, pre-drink water and if necessary have a pre-party snack.

It is easy to get dehydrated travelling and one of the first symptoms of dehydration is fatigue. Start with a glass of water before being tempted by anything else, or better still, carry one with you to drink before you arrive.

3. Know What is in Your Drink 

Xmas red cocktail iStock_000045716868_SmallFestive functions showcase local food and drinks, but, unless it’s a beverage we know, better check the contents. A delicious Wassail (spiced apple cider) probably contains brandy, and a tasty Gluhwein could be ‘mit schuss’ with an extra shot of rum. It’s important to show an enthusiasm for local customs, but take care with this one, travel with a hangover is a misery to be avoided.

4. Never Drink Alcohol Without Food 

 A good host should always serve food with drinks. Digesting food slows down the passage of alcohol into the blood stream. If the only food available is crisps, nuts and unhealthy stodge, a small amount should still be eaten – reluctantly.

5. Be Aware of the Food Quantity  

Party sausage roll platter etc iStock_000032155976_SmallWith conventional meals, we see the total quantity to be consumed, on our plate.  Eating finger food makes it much harder, over a period of time, to judge the amount eaten.  When there is an abundance of tasty morsels being served, we need to make tough choices.  The pleasure in eating always has to be worth the calories.  Be selective. Try to avoid thick pastry, anything fried in breadcrumbs and greasy poor quality sausage meats.

A little portion can have a lot of calories, 25g of roasted peanuts contains a whopping 140kcal.

A small sausage roll has nearly 100kcal, one is fine, but several, is way too many.  One chocolate tree decoration –  a meagre 12.5g, has 68kcals.

 Appetizer canapes of bread with avocado, red fish salmon, lemon,Better to eat: anything with smoked salmon, lean meat, fish.  Small tasty morsels like sushi, vegetable crudité, cocktail sticks with Greek salad, or cherry tomato/mozzarella/basil stacks.

 Stick to mini treats, a mini mince pie has 81kcal, regular sized mince pies have 226kcal. 


©  Extravitality 2014 

Author: Carol Sadler PhD
Carol is a Nutrition Consultant. She counsels in diet and lifestyle change at Surrey Cardiovascular Clinic where clients have been referred by the clinic cardiologists. Prior to this Carol worked in private practice in Dubai for nine years, where she had various media engagements including Emirates Radio 2 Lifestyle Show monthly ‘phone-in’ on nutrition topics; Gulf News Friday Magazine (weekend supplement) monthly nutrition letter answered; City7 TV appearances on Breakfast Television and Lifestyle Show commenting on nutrition topics. Contributions to local magazines, and organizations, eg Rheumatoid Arthritis Group, Grazia Magazine, Living in the Gulf magazine. She continues to write nutrition articles and blogs, recently writing for Reader’s Digest, and HASTE Academy heart health charity and provides talks on diet issues. Carol is a member of The Nutrition Society, a Registered Nutritionist at the Association for Nutrition, Registration No. 912 and a member of SENSE (self employed consultant Nutritionists group for professional development).

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