For many people staying healthy during the holidays can be a difficult task, especially when temptation is lurking behind every corner. Not this year! You can beat the holiday bulge by following these ten easy steps.
Eat four to six smaller meals rather than saving yourself for that special holiday meal
Many people think that by starving themselves before the big holiday meal they are storing extra calories to be used later. Rather the opposite is true. By saving yourself for the holiday meal you have a greater chance of binge eating because your body is depleted of energy. Instead of overdoing it, eat four to six smaller meals during the day. By eating smaller meals your body is not running on fumes and your metabolic rate increases. This means you’ll burn more calories.
Plan a workout BEFORE a holiday party
Working out is key to a healthy lifestyle. The more you move the better you feel, but when is the best time to workout? Why not BEFORE your big holiday meal or party. By the time you get to the party your body will need food to help it recover. Why not use a Thanksgiving turkey as recovery? Also, your metabolism is more active after a hard workout, therefore your body is better equipped at burning off little indulgences.
We have been trained that everything in life is a race to the finish, even when eating. Contrary to our hurry-up and finish attitude SLOW DOWN and enjoy each bite. By eating slower your body is able to detect when it is full and help prevent over eating.
The first bite is the sweetest
That first bite of pie is always the sweetest and by far the most delicious. Savor it. The more you eat the less satisfying each bite becomes. Don’t be afraid to put down your fork and enjoy what you have already consumed because the next bite will not get any better than the first.
Take advantage of nutritionally dense food
Deciding what to eat is always a challenge. There are always several different options to choose from. When selecting the items for your plate, consider eating the most nutritionally dense food on the table. Look for items such as turkey, pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, cranberries and chestnuts. All of these foods in moderation have nutrients that will supply your body with good healthy energy.
Offer to bring a healthy dish
Staying on track with a diet is difficult especially during the holidays. One way to make it easier on yourself is to ask the host if he or she needs help with the food. When deciding what to bring, consider a healthy appetizer like a veggie platter with low fat dressing or dip. A colorful fruit salad for dessert with low fat whip cream is also a great option.
Try a recipe modification
When making food for your own holiday party try modifying the recipe in ways that will make the dish a more healthy option. For example, lessen the amount of butter or oil used or use Greek yogurt instead of cream cheese. Don’t worry. It won’t change the flavor of your favorite food it will simply make it a healthier option.
BEWARE of liquid calories
One area of the food pyramid that is often over looked is liquid calories. Your favorite beverage may contain more calories than you realize, especially alcohol. For example, 12 ounces of beer contains 160 calories, four ounces of a margarita contains 270 calories and four ounces of red wine contains 85 calories.
Don’t hang out at the appetizer table when socializing
Somehow every holiday party finds its way into the kitchen, but don’t let the kitchen tempt you into snacking. When socializing avoid standing next to the appetizer table. A handful of this, and a handful of that can add up quickly. Before you know it, you have consumed 2,000 calories before the main course is served.
Write it down
Staying on track is difficult and everyone strays from it now and again. A way to keep yourself on track this holiday season is to keep a food journal. Document what you are eating and exactly how much you ate. Document what your workout was like. Make it as detailed as you would like. The only person that can hold you accountable is yourself.
Now you are equipped with all the right tools to beat the holiday bulge. What are you waiting for? Get out there and enjoy the party. Print a flier and hang it on the fridge to remind you of your holiday goals.