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5 Ways to Throw a Healthy (But Deliciously Fun) Office Party

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The winter holiday season is long gone, however summer often brings sunshine, early-close Fridays, and office parties to celebrate birthdays, reward business wins, or boost morale. Many of these shindigs, especially at cool, contemporary startups, include booze (well, beer at least) along with savory, salty snacks and sweet treats that are sure to set your fitness goals back.

Here are a few office party tips to help you stay on track even while having fun with your employees or peers:

1. Offer a Healthy Buffet of Food Items to Employees

Instead of the usual chips and dip or ordering 10 pizzas, try a sandwich, salad, or taco buffet with a veggie selection that employees can choose from to assemble their own meals. Research shows that veggies are great brain food and won’t lead to sluggishness like heavy meats and greasy snacks.

2. Incorporate a Fun Activity Involving Movement

In recent years, fitness parties have become popular. Having something that includes yoga, Zumba, or simple cardio a la music and dancing can be fun and promote fitness. Try planning a party at a co-working space that includes a gym and fitness classes.

3. Provide Small Bites or Tapas

Many of the healthiest party appetizer recipes are small bites, and a recent Arizona State University study even found that food consumed in smaller pieces may boost appetite satisfaction more than eating one larger serving of food with the same number of calories. From dim sum, to pizza bites, to salad in a cocktail glass—the options are limitless.

4. Put a Cap on the Booze

Not only does workplace drinking lead to professionals exhibiting more troublesome behavior than in other environments, according to research, many drinks are high in calories and sugars.

Replace spirits with non-alcoholic options or organic juices. If that’s not an option, put a limit on the number of drinks per employee via a directive to the bartender. If you think you might have some crafty staff, use small cups, only serve wine, or try drinks with a low alcohol content.

5. Take It Outside

Remember the days of summer camp or school field days? Create an adult version via a fab picnic or retreat outdoors that includes team-building activities and team sports. Try adult musical chairs, Zumba, or relay races. (Of course, you might want to leave the booze out of this one, and incorporate fitness-inspired mocktails instead.)

If going outdoors means on the office terrace, with little space for physical activity beyond socializing and eating, it’s still a healthy option considering that, according to scientists, getting fresh air among nature increases energy in 90% of people.