It's the holiday season and with it comes lots of hearty comfort food! If you're anything like I used to be, you might dread the holidays and the extra weight they bring with them. It doesn't have to be like that, though. You can enjoy the season, along with all the festive meals and treats, without worrying about packing on the pounds.
Here are my simple tips to stay fit and trim during the holidays.
DON'T SKIP MEALS
Skipping a meal is bad news. Even if it's just breakfast. When you skip one of your regular meals, not only do you tend to overeat later in the day, but you also throw your metabolism into panic mode, making it difficult for your body to properly process the food you eat. This can lead to food cravings, unnecessary snacking and weight gain.
If you have trouble remembering when you should be eating, simply set a reminder in your phone or on your watch to alert you when it's time to break for some chow.
EAT 4 - 6 SMALL MEALS A DAY
It's much better for your metabolism if you regularly have 4 - 6 small, nutrient-packed meals rather than the standard breakfast, lunch and dinner. The reason for this is that it keeps your blood sugar from fluctuating too much and it keeps you from getting hungry in the longer stretches between meals and snacking or overeating.
It's best to get some protein, healthy fats and some whole grains in each meal. One of my favorite small meal ideas is half of a whole wheat bagel spread with greek yogurt and topped with albacore tuna. It has all the dietary requirements to keep me full until my next meal and it's satisfying and healthy.
PLAN AND PREP YOUR MEALS AHEAD OF TIME
The holidays are a busy time. You already have the usual responsibliities on your plate, plus you might have to shop for holiday gifts, plan the family dinner and address holiday cards. It's much easier to eat healthy if you plan your meals and prep them at the beginning of the week so they are ready to grab when you are on the run.
I generally sit down to plan meals for the following week on Saturday afternoon, then on Sunday, I prep weekday lunches, then package and label everything so it's ready when you need it.
DOUBLE UP ON THE GOOD AND SKIMP ON THE BAD
This time of year usually calls for lots of comfort foods. Whether it's cheesy casseroles or fried food, balancing your dinner plate is important. Maybe add a second helping of the steamed veggies and skip the extra butter on those already creamy mashed potatoes.
Getting lots of nutritient-rich foods like fresh fruits and vegetables is essential. Try adding extras of these and not reaching for another spoonful of stuffing.
DRINK MORE WATER AND LESS BOOZE
Sure, the holidays are a time to enjoy yourself, but getting sloshed is only going to make you feel worse. Alcoholic beverages contain empty calories, meaning they have no nutritional value, but will pack on the pounds, not to mention the hangover they can leave behind. If you enjoy a glass of wine or a craft beer with dinner, then have one, but make sure you drink lots of water to keep yourself hydrated and sober. After all, you want to remember the holidays and not just the story of you getting drunk and doing something really embarrassing.
ALLOW YOURSELF LITTLE INDULGENCES
There are lots of tempting treats this time of the year. Maybe you fear you'll miss out of the pumpkin pie or testing a selection from the cookie swap you were invited to, but you don't have to fret. You can allow yourself little indulgences here and there. It's best to choose a treat that you really enjoy intead of taking something from the dessert tray because it's there, and remember, moderation is key.
RELAX AND ENJOY YOURSELF
There really is no reason to stress about eating healthy during the holidays. Make good food choices, eat frequently enough so you stay full and give yourself a treat for all your hard work every now and then and you'll start the new year off without the extra holiday poundage.
What are your tips for eating healthy during the holidays?
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