Smart Healthy Eating Strategies to Get You Through the Holidays

healthy eating

 

The holidays are quickly approaching, which means it’s time to plan your healthy eating strategy for the season. Because most holidays are food-focused, they can cause a large intake of calories and throw your otherwise-healthy lifestyle off track.

Prevent the holidays from sabotaging your healthy lifestyle by putting a plan in place for handling all the extra food and drinks that will come your way during the season. Follow the tips below to celebrate guilt-free!

Plan activities that don’t center on food

Whether you’re hosting a holiday gathering or going to someone else’s house, keep some activities in your back pocket to take you away from the snack table. For example, bring a few favorite board games or set up some simple physical activities that children and adults can enjoy, like a bean bag toss or a relay race.

If you enjoy running or walking, sign your family up for a local 5K event. There are always a ton of turkey trots, jingle bell 5Ks and other holiday-themed races at this time of year. If you’ve never done one, you’ll be hooked after your first race!

Not only will these ideas get your mind off food, but they’ll give everyone something fun to do together. And isn’t that really what the holidays are about?

Avoid skipping meals

Many people make the mistake of skipping meals on the day of a holiday party to “save” their calories for the event. Skipping meals is unhealthy, however, as it leads to poor food choices and often results in overeating.

Instead, eat small meals and snacks throughout the day to keep your blood sugar levels stable and your appetite controlled. When you get to the party, you won’t risk derailing your diet because you’re starving.

Practice mindful eating

The most important thing to practice is being mindful about your food choices and portion control. When you’re mindful about selecting your food, you’ll choose a satisfying portion instead of piling your plate high. You’ll take a small amount of an “indulgent” food to enjoy and balance it out with healthier foods, rather than filling your entire plate with unhealthy choices.

The best part of mindful eating? When you pay attention to what you eat, you’ll actually taste and appreciate your food! Eating mindlessly, on the other hand, always results in the realization that you didn’t enjoy the ton of calories you just consumed.

Make food swaps

As you make your holiday cooking plan, choose your ingredients carefully to keep your dishes on the healthier side. For example, prepare traditional stuffing with whole wheat or whole grain bread rather than white bread. Make a cauliflower mash in place of the traditional mashed potatoes. Substitute whole-wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour in your favorite baking recipes.

Limit your cocktail consumption

The empty calories in alcoholic beverages add up. If you want to enjoy your favorite cocktail occasionally throughout the season without overdoing it, add some mineral water or seltzer to it to keep it light.

 

While food and drinks are certainly a great part of the festivities, holiday celebrations are not just about eating. Focus on the joyous, giving spirit of the season and enjoy spending time with your family, friends and colleagues.


Tips to Stick to Your Weight Loss Plan Over the Holidays

holiday weight lossYou’ve worked hard to lose weight and get healthy, so don’t let holiday meals, office treats and parties hijack your holiday weight loss progress this holiday season. Implement these five easy tips and tricks to keep extra pounds at bay.

Don’t get caught hungry. When you’re hungry, you’re more likely to make unhealthy choices, like hitting up the drive-thru at your favorite fast-food restaurant or grabbing an extra cookie from the communal office stash. Keep some almonds, whole wheat crackers or an apple in your purse or desk drawer. This strategy can help you fight the urge for sugary, high-fat snacks.

Don’t confuse hunger with thirst. Keep a bottle of water with you at all times and refill it throughout the day. If you find yourself tempted to have a slice of the pumpkin pie, drink some water and go for a five or 10-minute walk. When you return, the temptation is likely to have passed.

Don’t forget to exercise. Hectic schedules, short work weeks and holiday parties can leave you with less time to hit the gym, but don’t worry—you can continue to burn calories throughout your day. Start by taking the stairs, parking your car as far from your office building as possible and adding a lunchtime walk. Use a fitness tracker or purchase an app for your phone to help you keep up with your exercise and step counts. Make a goal to hit 10,000 steps or more per day.

Trick yourself by using smaller plates at holiday parties and meals. Start by loading up on veggies, fruits, proteins and other healthy choices. If there’s room left on your plate, choose an indulgence and save it for the end of your meal. It’s okay to enjoy some seasonal treats, as long as you don’t overdo it.

Limit your alcohol. Remember, cocktails often contain a lot of sugar and calories, which can add up quickly. Choose yours wisely and set limits. Be sure to drink a glass of water after each alcoholic drink. Unsweetened tea is also a good option at parties.

Most of all, enjoy the season. There may be days that are more difficult than others, and you may fall off your plan. Identify what derailed you so you can be better prepared the next time. And don’t be too hard on yourself—every day is a new beginning. Happy holidays!