It’s the most wonderful time of the year… for everything except our waistlines! It’s hard to stay motivated when eggnog, pumpkin pie, and gingerbread cookies are constant temptations. Not to mention all the family, work, and neighborhood parties that are centered around food (and not the healthy kind). Sometimes it might seem easiest to just indulge for the next six weeks and restart your healthy habits on January 1st, but there’s no need to pack on five more pounds. These five tips can help you enjoy the holiday foods while maintaining your current weight.
1. Enjoy one (then be done)
Whether it’s one piece of pie, one serving of stuffing, or one chocolate truffle don’t go for more. Enjoy the food and take time to eat it. We eat so fast that most of us only enjoy the first and last bites of what we eat. If you think about enjoying every single bite you won’t need another helping to taste the goodness. By following this rule you won’t feel deprived. Even better, you’ll feel in control of what’s going in your mouth; a feeling that many give up on during the holidays.
2. Continue your exercise routine
Family time, holiday events, and the general business of the season might make it more difficult to exercise but definitely shouldn’t be used as excuses to stop altogether. Plan now when you will get your exercise in over the next six weeks. Chances are you will be eating more calories than your body needs at least a few times over the next few weeks and sitting on the couch watching football or movies will only leave one place for those extra calories to go. Invite your family to exercise with you (or don’t invite your family if this is your “me time”). Keep in mind that fun activities such as sledding, playing in the snow, and ice skating are all great ways to be physically active!
3. Drink water
Choosing to drink water instead of eggnog, cider, or hot chocolate is probably the easiest way to cut out excess calories. Half a cup of eggnog has 150 calories. Have you ever measured out half a cup of eggnog? It’s nothing… which means you’re likely getting over 300 calories with every glass. Water is the way to go! Drinking water throughout the day will also help give you periodic feelings of fullness which can help with unnecessary snacking.
4. Eat sitting at the table
How often do you actually think about what and how much you’re eating when you’re standing around food in the kitchen? Chances are you have no idea how many crackers you’ve dipped in the cheese ball and then shoved in your mouth. Put a serving of food on a small plate, eat sitting at the table, and enjoy it! If possible, try to socialize in rooms where food is not available to remove the temptation to mindlessly eat.
5. Eat regular meals
I’ll be honest when I say that if I don’t eat regular meals during the holidays I graze on whatever is easiest to eat – cookies, candy, and other tasty treats. Maybe you’ve experienced the same thing in past years. By eating regular meals throughout the day we avoid feeling excessively hungry, which is usually when we make poor food choices. We are also more likely to think about what we are eating and grab a fruit or vegetable when we take the time to eat a real meal.
How are you going to have a happy (and healthy) holiday season?
What strategies have you used in the past that have been helpful for you and your family?
I’m Jasmine, a Nutritionist and Wellness advocate. My passion is fitness and nutrition; but I also love cooking and making healthy foods with my family and being active.