If you’re new to learning about nutrition, let us be the first to tell you that improving your health by changing your diet and lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to totally leave out the fun stuff (whew!). What you really need is a few tips to keep you on track while still maintaining the “live your best life” motto. It’s a healthy balance! While it’s easy to have our routines in place, everything tends to go out the window when we’re surrounded by yummy goodness at every office party and family gathering. Here’s a few how-to tips to navigate through the holiday grub.
Pick one indulgence: dessert or drinks. Alcohol and sugary cocktails are usually the most calorie dense treats that send us over the edge and pack on unwanted pounds. Keep track of how many times you’re faced with these temptations and try to limit your dessert or drink dabbling to once or twice a week. And when you do indulge, try your best to stick to either one or the other. If you know you really want a piece of that pumpkin pie with all the trimmings, serve yourself a modest piece and swap your drinks for water instead. And don’t forget that you can always recreate a healthier version of the tasty treats and cocktails you love. Don’t feel pressured to eat or drink anything just because it’s the holidays and you’re afraid this might be the only time of the year you can have these things.
Use smaller plates/cups: If counting “cheat meals” or keeping “food points” seems a bit much, try going for smaller portions or eating meals in small bowls or tupperware. That way, you won’t be able to consume as much in one sitting. Think about it, how much more food do you eat when it’s served on a plate versus when it’s served in a bowl. This is a fail-proof way to control your portion sizes and prevent over consuming calories.
Bring your own food: If you’ve already eaten all the bon bons and holiday hams or you have several social events to go to, offer to bring a healthy dish that can be something you can snack on. Search up a healthy dessert or mocktail recipe. If that’s too much, eat a little bit before an event so you don’t show up hungry and weak to temptations. Keeping a bag of trail mix (maybe with some chocolate) with you is a great snacking option, just be aware that everything we eat, healthy or not, should be in moderation.
Don’t skip on sleep: It might not seem food related, but studies have shown that being sleep deprived can lead to increased food cravings. Often times, when the body is tired it craves starchy carbohydrates (think: french fries, mac’n’cheese, etc.) that provide a quick burst of energy in hopes of waking up. Make sure you’re following the rest of your normal routine as much as possible, which includes going to sleep and waking up at a decent time so you get your 6-8 hours in. The more closely you’re able to follow good habits, the harder it will be to be overcome by unhealthy habits.