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How Not to Get Trashed at Your Office Holiday Party

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Oh, office parties. The combination of booze, bosses, and work pals can make for some super fun—or super awkward—experiences. The easiest way to have a good time while maintaining your professional rep: Don't overdo it on the alcohol. But with slashed budgets for food and a straight-from-work timeslot, that's easier said than done. So we tapped Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson Torey Jones Armul, M.S., R.D., for her tips on partying without embarrassing yourself.

Don’t Booze on an Empty Stomach
You (should have) learned this in college but it’s worth repeating: Eat something! It's easy to accidentally head straight to a party with nothing in your stomach if your usual routine is to eat dinner at home. But if you eat before your first sip, not only will you have a lower blood alcohol content and feel less drunk, but you’ll also sober up more quickly, says Armul.

Focus on Protein For Pre-Party Eats
If you normally snack on fruit or carrot sticks in the afternoon, add some yogurt, nuts, or cheese. “Some research suggests that eating a protein-rich meal before drinking is best for controlling blood alcohol levels,” says Armul. Plus, a protein and produce snack will help control cravings so you don’t overdo it on the dessert tray.

Pack a Purse Snack
If getting out the door by party time means you’re too busy for an afternoon snack, pack a portable one to eat on the way. Armul recommends almonds, trail mix, or a snack bar. You can also try one of these 10 Portable High-Protein Snacks.

Eat Smart at the Party
Your pre-party snack doesn’t excuse you from continuing to eat once you’re there. “Eating and drinking at once can slow the absorption of alcohol, but it depends on what you eat,” says Armul. “High fat foods actually increase your alcohol absorption.” So stay away from those mozzarella sticks!

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate
We can’t stress this one enough. The effects of alcohol are much stronger when you’re dehydrated, warns Armul. “And dehydration is also responsible for much of the pain and discomfort of a hangover.” If you’re feeling thirsty, you’re already behind. Drink water throughout the day and during and after the party, and eat plenty of these Top 30 Hydrating Foods, and you'll be able to wake up the next day ready to get right back to work. Just don’t act too energized the next morning…your coworkers will be hungover, after all. (Feeling charitable? Forward them this article.)

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