Along with the festive activities and visiting friends and family, the holidays are often about eating a plethora of delicious baked goods and special dishes. Avoiding such dishes is usually impossible, so these healthy eating tips allow you to enjoy your favorite foods without the dreaded weight gain. Incorporating the tips will also keep you from feeling guilty should you want that slice of pecan pie or serving of creamy mashed potatoes. Every year, people indulge in holiday celebrations only to feel guilty and be a few pounds heavier on January 1st. By staying healthy through the holidays, you can have your cake– and eat it, too!
Eat before a party
When you are starved before going out to eat, what do you do? Eat more than you should. Since you know a holiday party or dinner will have many food choices — some healthy and some not — it’s a good idea to have a snack before leaving the house. When you are expecting to visit friends or family for a gathering, start out the day eating a healthy breakfast of eggs, toast or oatmeal and follow it up with a satisfying sandwich or grilled protein and salad for lunch. Keeping the hunger away will help you make wiser choices at the buffet table.
Switch up the cocktails
Alcoholic drinks usually have plenty of calories, especially mixed cocktails and other holiday favorite drinks. After consuming many calories with festive dishes, alcoholic drinks are empty calories and can add up to weight gain. To keep caloric intake to a minimum, sip on wine or choose cocktails that have diet mixers, such as diet cola and vodka. If you want to avoid alcohol completely, there is still plenty to choose from including apple cider, sparkling water or diet sodas.
Keep track of portions
One of the easiest ways to gain weight over the holidays is to ignore portion sizes. Keeping portions sizes reasonable allows you to enjoy anything you want in moderation. When subjected to a buffet with dozens of delicious choices, fill up the plate with healthier options like proteins, fruits and vegetables and keep the more decadent dishes to a smaller portion. That way, you will enjoy everything but fill up with smarter food choices. Once you sit down, remember to eat slowly so your brain has time to register when you get full and you won’t consume unnecessary calories.
Keep up with healthy habits
One way to keep holiday pounds off of your body is to maintain daily healthy habits like drinking plenty of water and getting in physical activity. Stay hydrated with water to reduce bloat. Alcohol and sodium tend to dehydrate your body, so water will replenish necessary liquids. Counteract calorie intake by getting in at least 30 minutes of activity each day.
Make recipe substitutions
It would be hard to go through the holidays without sampling some of the seasonal foods, so alternating recipes with low-fat options will allow you to enjoy them without the added calories. Health Castle suggests using two egg whites in baking recipes instead of a whole egg, switching to low fat dairy products and using frozen yogurt instead of ice cream. Using lower fat alternatives keep the flavor you’re looking for at a fraction of the calories. If you plan on going to a party you think may have less than healthy dishes, make your own with these low fat alternatives and take them with you. That way, you know something is low in calories but still tasty and festive.
By using these simple tips, you can enjoy the holidays without depriving yourself of holiday favorites. Moderation is the best way to keep off unwanted pounds while still partaking in family traditions and gatherings.
Staying Healthy- Even Through the Holidays