Healthy for the Holidays
Holidays are all about spending time with loved ones and, of course, all of the amazing food that comes with it. How can you stay on track with healthy eating over the holiday season? We’ve come up with some simple tips to help you on your weight loss or maintenance journey!
1. Don’t “save up” calories.
Many people think they need to fast or save up their calories before a big meal. Often this can end up back firing. When you don’t eat for a long period of time, your blood sugar drops and cortisol levels increase because you’re hungry. This can lead us to crave fatty, salty and sugary foods. Instead of waiting to eat, nibble on healthy meals and snacks such as raw veggies, nuts, and fruits throughout the day to avoid overindulging on holiday foods.
2. Trim down on the trimmings.
Many of the traditional holiday dishes such as lean turkey, roasted vegetables and nuts are really not that unhealthy. It’s adding all the trimmings such as gravy, cream sauces and butter that add loads of unnecessary calories. Pile your plate high with lean meats and vegetables and say “no thank you” to the trimmings.
3. Outsmart the buffet.
When you’re faced with a spread of delicious food, it’s easy to over serve yourself on the first few items in the buffet line. Assess the foods that are served and choose how much of each food to put on your plate. Using a smaller plate helps you avoid serving yourself larger portions. Fill up on fruits, vegetables hummus, olives and a few crackers. Then, go back for any of the higher fat sides you can’t resist such as cheesy casseroles, mashed potatoes and bread.
4. Fit in your favorites.
No food should be on the naughty list during the holiday season. Choose the dish you really love and can’t get any other time of year but keep the portion smaller. Save a small serving for the next day to keep you from overeating in the moment. Pick only the foods that you truly enjoy. If something doesn’t make you swoon, leave it on the sidelines.
5. One for one.
It’s easy to forget about the calories in what we drink. Be mindful about your choices and how much sugar is in your drinks. Remember to have one glass of water for each glass of sugary or alcoholic beverage you drink. Try sparkling water or club soda with a lime or other fruit as an alternative.
6. Be social.
You go to family gatherings, work parties, and other social events to see your friends and loved ones – so see them! Take the focus off of the food and be present with the crowd rather than diving into holiday treats. Use the time together to learn one new thing about at least three people in the room.
7. Location. Location. Location.
Choose where you stand strategically. It’s easy to lose track of how many slices of cheese and crackers you’ve downed when you’re mindlessly standing next to the hors d’oeuvres. Take a small plate, watch your portions and leave the hors d’oeuvre table to enjoy your food.
8. Just say no… to food pushers.
We know that Grandma put in tireless hours in the kitchen to make the perfect pumpkin pie but that doesn’t mean you have to feel forced to eat it just because she’s offering it to you. Put on a smile, politely decline, and offer a compliment. “Oh, Grandma! That pumpkin pie looks amazing, and you’re so thoughtful to make it but I’m just too full to enjoy it right now. Could I take a slice home with me?” Grandma will still feel loved and you won’t feel pressure to show your affection though busting a gut.
9. Bring out the skinny jeans.
Leggings, sweat pants, and elastic waistbands may seem like the logical choice for holiday gatherings but these clothes may be an invitation to overeat. Leave those roomy pants at home and bring out a nice dress, skinny jeans, or a slim fittings suit – whatever ensemble makes you feel confident, sleek and slim. Not only will you look and feel great but your outfit will offer a nice, subtle reminder to keep you from getting seconds (or thirds).
10. Nix the guilt.
Feeling guilty after eating foods you don’t usually allow yourself can lead to unhealthy behaviors and unnecessary stress. Let go of those negative voices in your head and give yourself permission to enjoy the holidays guilt-free. Remind yourself that you will get back on track with your normal eating routine the next day.