Let’s be honest, from the moment you buy that first bag of Halloween candy until the crystal ball drops on New Year’s Eve, do you ever feel like holiday temptations plot to keep you from sticking to your healthy eating habits? Sadly the average weight gain between Oct 31- Jan 1st is 7-14 pounds! So with that said, you may ask yourself… Is it really possible to eat healthy during the holiday season and not feel like you are missing out on all the holiday fun? Well the answer is definitely yes! There is a way to approach holiday eating without sabotaging the weight-loss you worked so hard to achieve. Here is my Holiday Eating Survival Guide.
Put a Healthy Spin on Family Recipes
Family recipes are always a staple at holiday gatherings. These recipes can usually be made healthier without sacrificing the flavor you have always loved. For example, substitute applesauce instead of oil in your cakes, use 2 egg whites in place of a whole egg, and use low-fat dairy products instead of whole fat. And make holiday treats in smaller quantities. This year bake a small-size cake that the family will finish at one sitting with no tempting leftovers.
Have a Plan
The holidays can be a stressful time. The weeks leading up to the holidays are full of shopping, wrapping presents, going to parties, hosting family and friends, baking and cooking and at the same time keeping the rest of your family in check. Don’t let any stresses that may arise steer you into poor eating habits. Having a plan is the best course of action. Have healthy meals frozen and ready to go for those crazy hectic days. Keep fresh fruits and veggies on hand when you’re on the go. And when you get to a party scan the buffet table for the healthiest options beforejumping in. And when you do sample one of those tasty holiday treats just be mindful of calories and portions.
Being Mindful Doesn’t Mean Depriving Yourself
Changing some habits can keep a diet going without having to give up holiday treats altogether. For example, make a list of favorite holiday foods and then pick two or three to enjoy this year. This way you can enjoy yourself without over indulging in all those holiday temptations.
Focus on Family not Food
Plan on activities for which food is not the primary focus. And, when food is an important part of the celebration try and spend that time catching up with family and friends instead of hovering over the buffet table. And don’t be afraid to let your family in on your plan. Friends and family are more than happy to help.
Eat Before the Party / Eat Smaller Portions
Don’t skip a major meal like breakfast or lunch because you want to indulge at the party. Eating a healthy meal or snack before you arrive can help you pass on any tempting treats that will come your way. And when you do eat at the party, keep you portions in check. In fact it doesn’t hurt to even keep your portions a little smaller than usual to help avoid overeating.
Make Exercise Time
There are 43,200 minutes in the month of November; surely you can find 30 minutes a day to fit in your exercise. And exercise is a huge outlet for stress. If you don’t have time to make it to the gym or hop on your elliptical then turn holiday preparations into exercise. Clean the house at a faster pace. Park your car at the far end of the parking lot if you are going shopping. Rake lease for 30 minutes. Raking leaves is a great way to burn those extra calories. If you have children involve them in this activity. You can rake piles and let them jump in them. What Fun! Enjoy your time and family while burning calories.
Avoid excessive alcoholic beverages
It is so easy to drink calories. We can do it mindlessly. So watch what you drink over the holidays. Plus as you drink, your will-power can subside and the alcohol can spark you appetite. Grab a glass of sparkling water with a twist or a diet soda instead of a sugary cocktail. And don’t forget your water. It will help you keep up your energy and help curtail your appetite when you are surrounded by all the tastes of the holiday.
The holidays will soon be upon us. Even though it can be a challenging time to keep healthy eating habits, I assure you it is possible. Just using a few of these 7 tips can help minimize your caloric intake while still letting you enjoy the holiday festivities. And it will help keep you from dreading that scale come January 2nd!
What are some of your tips for keeping healthy eating habits over the holidays?