It’s the most wonderful time of the year! But it can also be a challenging season for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. With all of the hustle and bustle, you may find yourself feeling overwhelmed trying to juggle last-minute shopping with cooking big family dinners - not to mention having delicious treats seemingly everywhere you turn! While you can certainly enjoy the treats of the season, it’s important to stay mindful and ensure that you aren’t letting your healthy habits slip through the cracks. With a bit of self-discipline, planning and some good old holiday cheer, you can make this time of year both festive and healthy.
So how do you navigate the mountains of mashed potatoes and rivers of gravy? Follow these 5 tips to keep the holidays healthy and enjoyable.
1. Set realistic goals. Rather than trying to lose weight, focus on realistic goals such as weight maintenance throughout the holidays.
2. Make a plan. You’ve known about the holidays all year long (and every year prior)…this isn’t anything new. Continue to eat balanced, portion-controlled meals comprised of high-quality ingredients all the way up to the day of the feast, and continue this on the day of your holiday event. Additionally, on the day of:
- Don't skip meals. Skipping meals the day of the event actually leads to over-eating later in the day.
- Have a snack before the party to help curb your appetite. Slight satiety will shrink the size of your eyes and your stomach before you’re surrounded by temples of turkey.
3. Know your portions. You can still enjoy your favorite holiday foods, but you don’t need to over-eat them. That pumpkin pie is going to look good…real good. So good that you might want to have two pieces. But remember, if you eat double the serving size of pumpkin pie, you’re getting double the calories, sugar, fat…everything.
4. Be mindful. Rather than inhaling turkey and stuffing, really think about what you’re putting into your body. Use all your senses to experience the flavor of each dish, the texture, and all the love that went into preparing this wonderful feast. Really take time to enjoy, appreciate, and taste your food. Then listen to your body; it will tell you when you are full so be sure to listen.
5. Don't beat yourself up! If you overindulge a bit just start the next day off on the right foot by making your usual healthy choices. Go for a brisk walk around the neighborhood or make yourself a nourishing breakfast that will help you get back on track.
We promise the holidays can be both enjoyable and healthy! Probably the most important thing to remember at all times of the year, but especially during the holidays, is to live a healthy lifestyle NOW. Your healthy habits don’t end on Thanksgiving and start over on January 1. It can be difficult to stick to a solid routine throughout the holidays, but building healthy habits ahead of time will make this time of year way easier!
Spend quality time with family and friends, soak up the festive atmosphere of the season and remember to be grateful for all that we have. Here's wishing you a joyous holiday season full of peace, love, and good health!