It’s the start of holiday season, which means lots of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, pumpkin desserts, and festive party snacks. If you are trying to maintain or strive for a healthy diet, this can be a stressful time of year.
Instead of being anti-social and avoiding parties, dinners, and events where you could be tempted to overindulge, there are some preventative measures you can take so you can celebrate the season. It’s possible to enjoy holiday foods and also try to maintain a healthy balance, it just takes a little effort and dedication.
The Following are some tips for eating healthy during the holidays:
Eat veggies and fruits before you attend a party.
We are tempted most often when we are hungry, and that’s when we tend to choose our food poorly. We go for the easiest and most filling treats – which means chips, heavy food like tacos or lasagna, and other rich choices. To curb your appetite in anticipation of party food, eat healthy snacks before you go, like a small salad or some fruit and yogurt. Then you won’t be so tempted to indulge in the heavier foods.
Limit your alcohol.
It’s fine to have a glass of wine or a cocktail at a party, but temper your alcohol consumption with water. Usually we are dehydrated with alcohol, which makes us hungry and more likely to eat foods that aren’t good for us. Plus, alcohol is heavy in calories, so even if you eat more healthy foods, you are still loading up on sugars, carbs and calories if you drink too heavily.
When you feel you’ve indulged too much, or eaten too many party snacks, consider adding an extra ten or fifteen minutes to your daily exercise routine. Take walking breaks during lunch and a stroll around the neighborhood after dinner. Holiday season is not the time to scale back on working out. If your body is used to burning a certain amount of calories, keep it consistent this time of year, or increase your movement. It not only prevents weight gain, but it relieves stress and gives your immune system a boost.
Plan your meal schedule so you can enjoy indulgences, too.
It’s important not to skip meals, because this throws off your metabolism. Instead, plan your meals wisely during the holidays. If you know you are going to eat a heavy dinner at a friend’s house, have a salad or veggies for lunch. Eat lightly the next day, and start with a green smoothie to get your digestive system going. You can indulge in that piece of pumpkin pie when you also make plans to eat lightly the next meal. Also, when you are eating richer foods, opt for smaller portions of your favorite foods before you fill your plate with other rich foods you might not like as much. If you’re going to indulge, you should enjoy each bite!