I love the holidays… warm fires, Christmas trees and decorations, seasonal drinks and food. However, I don’t like stepping on the scale in January to find an extra ten pounds that creeped up on me over the last few months. AHHH!
I have good news! Here are seven great tips to help you survive the holidays and come out on the other side feeling healthy, energetic, and motivated to start the new year off right!
1.) Control Your Environment
Set up your environment so that it works for you, not against you. In any situation, if all you have to choose from are unhealthy options, that is what you will choose.
If you are sticking close to home for the holiday season, make sure that your house is filled with your favorite healthy snacks and seasonal foods. Veggies with hummus, raw nuts, clementines, hot tea, air popped popcorn….these are all great snacks to have on hand.
If you are traveling or attending get togethers and parties over the next couple of months, it is a little more difficult to control your environment, but there are still things that you can do. Come prepared with your own healthy snacks (those with protein will keep you satisfied for longer). If you are in a situation where it might be inappropriate to bring your own snack, have one before the event.
If you are the lucky person who has been placed in charge of cooking the traditional holiday meal, try substituting healthier versions of the traditional dishes. For instance, instead of the sugar-filled sweet potato casserole that many are accustom to, bake individual sweet potatoes and have several bowls of toppings that each person can add themselves. This will allow you to have a plain sweet potato without hindering your guests. Instead of the typical green been or corn casserole, cook a large pot of fresh green beans or corn with a little butter, salt, and pepper for extra flavor. Substitute the canned cranberry sauce for this super simple, 3 ingredient Cranberry Sauce Recipe that uses pure maple syrup instead of loads of processed white sugar. Another great tip is to skip the gravy that usually covers your entire plate. If there is one dish that is an obvious family favorite, like the dressing, then by all means go ahead an make your famous family recipe.
2.) Stay Hydrated
True thirst can often be misinterpreted as hunger. Make sure that even throughout this busy time of year, you are staying properly hydrated. Drink half of your body weight in ounces of water each day. Staying hydrated will help to ease false hunger and cravings, making it easier to make good food related decisions during the holidays. (10 Healthy Ways to Invigorate Your Water.)
3.) Don’t Drink Your Calories
I’m not a huge fan of this title since I don’t like to focus on calories, but you get the picture. I think that, during the holiday season, it is especially easy to mindlessly drink ourselves full of empty calories. Coffee with peppermint creamer alongside breakfast, two mugs of hot cocoa with marshmallows after coming in from the cold, a glass of egg nog with dessert, and a few alcoholic beverages “after hours” will easily load your body with tons of calories and most importantly, zero nutritional value. Try hot teas if you are wanting a warm beverage. My favorites for this time of year are Chocolate Mint Tea and Cinnamon & Spice Tea. So DELICIOUS!!!
4.) Choose Low-Glycemic
As always, it is important to stick to foods that are lower on the glycemic index. Foods that are high in sugar will cause your blood sugar to spike and then crash, which leads to more cravings and overeating. When our blood sugar crashes, we will automatically go for the bad stuff like super starchy foods and sugary desserts. Do you see the cycle?
5.) Fill Your Plate Mindfully
I use this trick most of the time, but it is especially useful when filling your plate from the holiday buffet. Most of the time during the holiday meal, there is so much food and so many options that we can’t even fit everything on one plate. Fill your plate with the healthiest and most nutritional foods first. Start with the greens and veggies, then move toward the lean meats. Leave the starchy foods and sugars for last. The less room there is left for these foods on your plate and in your belly, the better.
6.) Don’t Deprive Yourself
This is such a wonderful time of year and we still want to enjoy ourselves, but it is so easy to get carried away. You want to try each of the holiday desserts and before you know it, you have an entire plate of sweets that will only leave you feeling lethargic and unable to button your jeans. Instead of having a piece of every dessert, allow yourself a small piece of your favorite pie and enjoy it with a warm cup of tea. YUM!
7.) Focus On The Rest
So many times during the holiday season, food is all we seem to think about. Whether it is grocery shopping, cooking, or eating, food seems to consistently be on of the top of the list.
Maybe we could take some of the focus off of the holiday food and give a little more attention to the other more meaningful things. Spend a little extra time connecting with people and nurturing relationships. Put a little more focus on giving gifts or serving others during this time. I promise that your holiday will still be just as or even more extraordinary without all of the focus placed on the one thing that just leaves us with zero energy, a tummy ache, and 10 extra pounds.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO RELY ON WILL POWER ALONE. WITH A LITTLE PLANNING, YOU WILL HAVE SUCCESS!
Wait! I have even more for you. My New Year online group nutrition program is scheduled for January to help you start 2015 off right! To get more info about the program and sign up for Early Bird bonuses, click HERE.