What do the holidays mean to you? Spending time with family, shopping, and eating probably come to mind. Temptations abound, whether it be baking and decorating holiday cookies, making gingerbread houses, attending holiday parties at school or work, visiting with friends and family, or enjoying special meals. So how can you avoid gaining weight or feeling unhealthy (or even guilty)? Can you still enjoy those parties and holiday traditions that define this time of year for you or your family? The answer is YES!! Here are some tips to stay healthy over the holidays:
Eat slowly and drink water
Yes, it really can be this simple. Eating slowly and drinking plenty of water can help you from overeating at a meal or party. I also try to focus on making sure I have enough protein and vegetables before digging into the carb-heavy dishes (bread, pasta and stuffing) that also tend to offer less in terms of nutrients our bodies need to be healthy. Keep in mind that alcohol is very calorie-dense, so keep an eye on your consumption. Try to stick to 1-2 glasses, and drink plenty of water to make your body feel full and hydrated.
Bring a healthy dish to share
Make sure there is something at the party that is healthy for you to enjoy. Bring it yourself! This is true for kids’ school parties and adult potlucks. Why not be a good role model and offer something other than treats for the kids to enjoy too.
Bring healthy snacks to work
If you know your co-workers are notorious for bringing in unhealthy treats to share over the holidays, take a pass by planning ahead (this can work any time of the year!). Bring healthy snacks to fill up on so you won’t be tempted by the treats that offer you nothing nutritionally, will cause you to have an energy spike and inevitable crash afterwards, and will contribute to weight gain.
Eat regularly before a holiday meal
This one may seem counterintuitive, but don’t starve yourself leading up to a “big” meal. In fact, treat it like any other meal. If you aren’t starving going into it, you won’t overeat as a result, or eat something you wouldn’t have eaten otherwise.
Don’t buy it if you don’t want to eat it
If the treats aren’t in your house, you won’t be able to eat them when you are itching for a sugar rush. The same is true for other members in your family. Don’t buy something you don’t think is healthy for you or your family. If it’s in the house, someone you love will probably eat it.
Eat in moderation
I am not saying you can’t indulge a little bit in the holidays, but keep these tips in mind so you don’t overdo it. If you have a particular craving, enjoy it in moderation, and then move on. If you try to avoid a craving, you may try to satiate it by eating other foods and then may still give into the craving later. You can still enjoy your favorite foods and holiday traditions, but by being aware and eating in moderation, you can prevent that holiday belly bulge and glide right into the new year!