During the holidays, it can be difficult to not reach for the cranberry sauce or snack on a piece of pecan pie. Add to these tasty treats dressing, mashed potatoes, and the plethora of other traditional meals and you’ll find your weight climb at a rapid pace.
While Christmas meals are often rich in calories, sugar, and fat, we’ve come up with some tips on indulging in delicious foods without the weight gain.
Step one: alternatives. What’s a healthy dish you love? Bring it to your holiday party and indulge! You don’t have to starve yourself while everyone around you enjoys dinner. Contribute your favorite dish so you are sure to have something to eat. Broth-based soups are a great example.
Step two: step away from the snacks. If your get-togethers are anything like mine, your friends and family gather in the kitchen. That’s where are the chatter is, but more importantly, that’s where all the snacks are! A key to staying on a healthy eating plan is to remove yourself from temptation. You don’t have to sacrifice quality time with family, just stay an arm’s length away from the snacks so you aren’t mindlessly filling your mouth with wasted calories.
Step three: be aware of what you’re eating. This step is huge. A food journal keeps you committed during the holidays. It’s easy to forget all of the little “here-and-there” snacks you munch on each time you pass through the kitchen. When you journal your caloric intake, you are more aware of exactly what you each and how much. This, in turn, leads to a more concentrated effort on avoiding wasted calories.
In addition to keeping a food journal, you should be aware of how you’re eating. We subconsciously eat more when there is a lot of noise around to distract us. Eating requires effort! Stay focused while you are eating. Chew your food well, savor each bite, and don’t try to multi-task. When you are aware of what you’re eating and focused solely on that task, you enjoy your food more and avoid overeating.
Step four: eat a hearty breakfast. Start your day on the right track. Before you leave for your holiday party, enjoy a good breakfast. This helps to prevent eating too much later in the day.
When you arrive at your Christmas destination with a full stomach, you are less likely to snack around until lunch is ready. When it is time to eat again, choose wisely. Don’t just go for what’s in front of you. Make calculated decisions. Do you have too many starches on your plate in comparison to meat and vegetables?
Step five: finish strong. When you feel like you’ve eaten a healthy meal, you might want to reward yourself—with dessert, with a cheat meal, etc. Resist the temptation! Stay on track and find healthy alternatives. Smoothies make for great desserts. There are so many healthy food options to explore.