I can’t believe its December already! How did that happen?! December means that holiday season is upon us bringing with it lots of parties and excess amounts of food and alcohol. A lot of people treat the holiday season as a time to “go off the rails” and studies show that the average person gains between 1-5 pounds during the winter holidays! So I want to share my top tips to stay healthy during the holiday season. If you are going to be travelling over the holidays, be sure to check out my post of how to stay healthy while travelling here as some of those tips will overlap as staying on track is all about planning ahead!
1. Keep a Realistic Frame of Mind
Whatever your goals are, do not try and change them or become more strict about your eating habits during the holidays. It can be frustrating to try and lose weight, or cut out certain foods during this time and if you restrict too much you may throw in the towel and just binge. Instead of trying to make any change, just try to maintain.
2. Don't Skip Meals
If you try to "save" up your calories, you will be more likely to eat more than if you had stuck to your normal meals. If you're planning to attend a party and know that there will be lots of treats there, have a healthy snack or a small meal before you go so you can still sample some of the items, but won't be as likely to go overboard.
3. Take Control of the Situation
If you are attending a pot luck at work or going to someone's house, offer to bring a dish. Plan on bringing something that you know you can enjoy but that is still healthy.
4. Enjoy Your Food Slowly
Eat slowly, take small bites, and savour the flavours. It takes 20 minutes for the stomach to communicate with the brain that you've had enough to eat, so to take your time. Eat until you are satisfied, don't stuff yourself. If you stop when satisfied, you'll avoid that uncomfortable full belly and sluggishness.
5. Stay Hydrated
Drink plenty of water, as staying hydrated controls the appetite. It is not uncommon to confuse thirst cues for hunger, so before reaching for another holiday treat, try a glass of water first.
6. Eat what you love, leave what you like
Instead of piling your plate a mile high with everything from the buffet, pick only the foods that give you true enjoyment. If something doesn’t make you swoon, leave it on the sidelines.
7. Load your plate right
Load up on meat and vegetables first and then get smaller portions of the heavier foods that you don’t want to miss out on.
8. Go Easy on Alcohol
Alcohol is not only damaging to the liver but it is not calorie-free and its effects can lead to lowered inhibitions and increased food intake.
9. Get Active
The holidays are not an excuse to stop your regular exercise routine. Even if it's just a walk in the evening after a meal it will make you feel better in the long run.
10. Nix the guilt
Feeling guilty after eating foods you don't usually allow yourself to eat can breed more unhealthy habits. So abandon those negative thoughts and give yourself permission to enjoy the indulgence free of guilt. Then remember the importance of getting back on track with your normal eating routine the very next day.
I will be sharing healthy holiday treats throughout the month of December, so be sure to stay tuned to the blog or sign up from my newsletter to get notified when new recipes are posted!
Have a healthy and happy holiday season!