Many people worry about ruining their healthy routines during the holidays and sabotaging the progress they have made all year. With the many temptations around and the comfort found in enjoying our favorite foods, it can be hard to not overindulge. Instead of throwing away our healthy habits completely, here are several ways to stay on track during the holidays!
- Eat Regularly: Eating regularly can help decrease your cravings for sugary and processed foods. If you keep your blood sugar levels well balanced throughout the day, you will be less tempted to make unhealthy choices. Snacking on healthy food throughout the day can help to reduce your appetite, keeping you from arriving to an event hungry or overindulging as the night progresses. Avoid skipping meals because this can cause your metabolism to slow down and can eventually lead to weight gain.
- Fill Up on Healthy Food First: When you are at a holiday party, aim to fill your plate with healthy foods first. Never underestimate the importance of eating your veggies! Vegetables provide us with several nutrients and are high in fiber, which is a great combination to maintain good health. High fiber foods slow down digestion, which helps keep you feeling full. This may reduce your appetite and help you consume less calories. Once you eat the healthy items on your plate, then go back for your favorite treats. You will be inclined to eat less of the unhealthy foods because you will have satisfied your appetite.
- Choose Foods You Love: Choose the foods you look forward to eating the most during the holidays. If a food does not make your “must have” list, do not put this item on your plate. Save your indulgences for the items that are the most important part of your holiday tradition.
- Follow the 80/20 Rule: The 80/20 rule is a great way to stay on track, while still making room for your favorite holiday delicacies. Eating 80% of the healthy, clean foods available and leaving 20% for indulgences, can give you the perfect balance. Knowing that you do not have to avoid your favorite foods completely gives you flexibility you need to succeed.
- Bring Your Own Healthy Dish: The most delicious recipes can be reinvented into healthier versions, while still being enjoyable and tasty. Create a list of the holiday dishes that you love and find recipes that make them in a healthier way. Share your healthy ideas with your friends and family. Provide them with the opportunity to see that eating healthy is not all that bad!
- Eat Slowly: Eating slowly allows you to enjoy your food and reduces the chance that you will overeat. It takes time for your stomach to send a message to your brain that you are full, so take it one bite at a time!Know the difference between being satisfied and stuffed!
- Stay Hydrated: Drink, drink, drink! Staying hydrated helps avoid sugar cravings and prevents overeating. Drinking plenty of water will help you feel fuller, which prevents you from wanting to continue to eat throughout the night. If you find yourself craving junk food, grab a glass of water before you take a bite.
- Beware of Beverages: The holidays are a time for celebration, and what’s more fun than celebrating with your favorite beverage? It’s easy to overindulge in alcoholic beverages, which will lower your inhibitions and can lead to poor eating choices. Alternate between water and alcohol to minimize your alcohol intake and to stay hydrated. Also both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks contain high amounts calories, carbohydrates and sugars. Choose your beverages wisely this holiday season by picking low to no sugar drinks.
- Stick to Your Routine: Many people struggle to follow their normal routines during the holidays. Try to keep as much structure as possible. Plan your meals, eat regularly, keep up with your exercise routines, and make sure you are getting adequate sleep. Sticking as close to your routine as possible can help you maintain healthy habits during and beyond the holiday season.
- Lose the Guilt: If you eat more than you planned, do not be too hard on yourself! Do not let one day of eating unhealthy lead you to completely fall off track. The holidays are for celebrating with family and friends, so don’t feel guilty eating that piece of cake. Have fun and get back to your healthy habits the next day!
Stay tuned as we share healthy versions of our favorite holiday dishes in the upcoming weeks!
– Allie Serra, CISSN