The smells and sights of the holidays are all around you; from holiday feasts to pumpkin pies, savory & sweet high calorie treats are in every corner! Many people may give up on eating healthy for the holidays since it’s a time to indulge and celebrate, but who said you can’t still celebrate while still staying healthy during the holidays? Here are some tips for staying healthy during the holidays so you can enjoy the occasion and still stay on track during your weight loss journey:
Substitute your holiday favorites.
Holiday drinks, from hot chocolate to apple cider, are being promoted and poured left to right. If one of these sweet treats is calling your name, find out what substitutions you can make. Whether it’s low-fat milk, no whip cream or half/quarter of the mix, you can find ways to get a taste of a classic holiday treat or mocktail without the calories.
Lighten up your flavor.
Instead of going for the butter and salt, why not look at other classic herbs and spices for your meals? Rosemary, cloves, cinnamon and nutmeg are classic holiday flavors and can lead to surprising pairings, like steamed carrots and cinnamon or beets and nutmeg!
Know your portions.
Part of eating healthy for the holidays is keeping yourself in check to make sure you don’t overeat. When putting your plate together, go for fruits and vegetables and lean meat. Take your time eating. Once you’re done, drink some water and enjoy the conversation around you, as the feeling of being full settles in about 20 minutes after you eat.
Keep an arm’s length.
Once you have your plate, or if you’d like to wait for the main meal, keep at least an arm’s length away from the table. You can then focus on what’s in front of you versus standing near the food and experiencing temptation for unhealthy foods.
A little goes a long way.
This applies to both alcoholic beverages and desserts! Many alcoholic beverages around the holidays tend to have mixers filled with sugar, and desserts tend to be luxuriously lathered in frosting and butter. Having one sip or one bite of pumpkin pie allows you to sample, know what it tastes like and feel satisfied that you got to take part in the festivities.
Keep it small.
In line with portion control, one way you can feel satisfied is by using a smaller plate or glass. Seeing the glass or plate full allows you to control your portions while also tricking your mind to seeing that you have enough of a serving to start off the festivities.
Get up and exercise
While fitting a workout into your busy holiday schedule can be difficult, staying active during the holiday season doesn’t have to mean hitting the gym everyday. Make physical activity a family (or friends) affair. Take a walk around the neighborhood, go ice skating or skiing. Not only will this do wonders for your physical health, but your mental health too, as the holidays are known to oftentimes cause stress.
Be part of the planning committee.
If the event is a potluck, volunteer to bring a healthy snack such as a vegetable tray, salad or lean lunchmeat. There is always a surplus of desserts, and many people will be happy to have some nutritious options available!
Use the buddy system.
When you find someone else who wants to eat and stay healthy during the holidays or simply wants to support you, stick with them during the party! That way you can keep each other accountable and feel empowered to eat healthy.
Eat before you go.
One of the top tips for eating healthy during the holidays is to show up having already eaten your own food! Instead of heading straight to the hors d’oeuvres, you can make the rounds saying hello to and catching up with everyone. Having already eaten gives you a better chance of not overeating or making poor food choices later. Keep your party plans in mind throughout your day, too, and carry a snack with you just in case.
We hope that these tips for eating healthy during the holidays help you feel empowered and stay healthy and happy. When you have a plan, you can feel confident as you dash from each event to the next.