How to Eat Healthy(ish) During the Holidays
‘Tis the season to be jolly! The holiday season is the only time of the year when we get a pass to unabashedly enjoy all our favorite dishes. In fact, based on statistics, the average American can expect to gain at least two pounds during the holidays.
Two pounds may not sound significant, but it can certainly add up over the years. Are you worried about packing on the pounds this holiday season? Fortunately, there are a few measures you can take to avoid expanding your waistline.
Here are a few tricks you’ll want to try.
Avoid Skipping Meals
Saving your appetite for the Thanksgiving feast? Don’t. Skipping meals throughout the day will result in overeating. Studies show that it’s especially important to eat breakfast every morning. Individuals who eat breakfast every morning tend to consume fewer calories during the course of the day. Foods that are high in fiber will keep you feeling full and are low in calories.
Saving calories and ignoring your hunger will only make you more hungry, and you’ll end up eating way too much of that stuffing!
Don’t Forget To Hydrate With Water
In between the food and booze it’s easy to forget to drink enough water during holiday festivities. Because we often mistake thirst sensations for hunger, you’ll find yourself eating and drinking more.
A tip: try filling up a large reusable water bottle and keeping track of your water intake. Aim to drink a gallon per day. This level of water consumption won’t just help you eat less during the holidays – it will likely make you feel better in general.
Only Eat The Foods That You Absolutely Love
There’s nothing wrong with indulging in the foods that you like every once in a while. However, it’s important to be mindful of exactly what you are putting in your body. When there’s a spread of holiday food on the table you might find yourself eating certain dishes out of obligation.
Stick to eating the foods that you really enjoy and skip what you normally eat throughout the year. If you don’t really like your aunt’s buttery mashed potatoes, then don’t eat them. Just don’t let her see!
Unhealthy snacks like cookies, chocolates and other goodies can be really tempting. When treats are available to take as you please it’s easy to snack unnecessarily. This can be solved by adopting good snacking habits. If you’re hungry, opt for real food rather than snacks.
Avoid munching on junk food just because it’s there. You might not be able to control what junk food others have in their homes, but do yourself a favor and don’t keep any in yours. If it’s not there, you cant snack on it!
Say Yes to Protein
Believe it or not, protein is the key to maintaining a healthy weight. Some holiday foods tend to be high in carbs and low in protein. When preparing your plate, make sure you keep your meal balanced by including lots of protein.
Did you know that protein promotes fullness which ultimately helps you reduce your caloric intake? Poultry (chicken and turkey), fish and some plant-based foods like beans and quinoa are excellent sources of protein.
Control Portion Sizes
With the abundance of different food dishes spread out buffet style on the dining table, it can be easy to overload your plate with everything that looks good. Keep in mind that the larger your portions are the more you are going to eat. Therefore, you should make it a goal to control your portion sizes.
You can determine the right portion sizes by reading the food labels to see what the recommended portions are. Try eating your meals on a smaller plate. Yes – eating off a smaller plate makes it much easier to control portion sizes.
Say No To Seconds
Holiday meals often have plenty of leftovers, so you can easily keep adding to your plate. Don’t fall for the trap. Think twice before you head back to the dining table to fill your plate with seconds (or thirds). Try to limit yourself to just one plate.
If you really want a second helping, try to wait a few minutes and give your food time to digest first. After 10 minutes you might not feel the need to eat more.
Limit Your Desserts
Of course, there’s nothing like grandma’s sweet potato pie. Desserts are everywhere during the holiday season. Eating too much of your favorite sugary holiday treats is bound to lead to weight gain and just isn’t healthy. Rather than consume every dessert in plain sight, how about just sticking to your favorites?
Another helpful trick is to take time and savor your favorite treats. You’ll feel more satisfied and you won’t feel the need to indulge. How? Like before, use a smaller plate and even use a smaller spoon so you really enjoy more bites with smaller portions.
Watch the Liquid Calories
Don’t let liquid calories like soda, alcohol and other calorie-rich beverages be your downfall. These sugary drinks are full of empty calories which can lead to weight gain.
You should also be aware that alcohol consumption is linked to increased appetite. Don’t get the drunk munchies before a meal and you’ll probably end up eating less. Try limiting or completely cutting out sugary drinks. But of course, you’ve gotta have some of that homemade egg-nog!
Bring a Healthy Dish
What are you contributing to the holiday festivities? Don’t be afraid to mix things up a bit by bringing a healthy and tasty dish to dinner. Buttery and carb-loaded homemade dishes are the main cause of holiday weight gain because they are high in calories.
Try modifying the recipe for some of your favorite dishes to make them healthier. Replace milk with non-fat or non-dairy options. Use butter alternatives. You’ve got options!
Don’t forget to stay active! If you’re used to going to the gym regularly, be sure keep up your exercise schedule. Take a few minutes out of your day to do some form of physical activity.
Whether it’s by taking the stairs rather than the elevator at work or parking further away from the grocery store, these actions make a difference. Look for ways you can exercise together with your family. Keeping your body moving.
You Got This!
Staying on top of your weight loss goals and keeping your body healthy during the holidays can seem daunting. Don’t be hard on yourself. As long as you’re conscious of what you’re putting in your body and try to stay active you’ll do fine. You’ll be glad you made these efforts when your summer beach body looks that much better.
Thank you for reading! Knowledge is power, and learning is key to living a better life.
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