Heading to a holiday party this season? Before you start worrying about all the delicious treats (and the consequences that come with them), remember there are steps you can take to eat healthier over the holidays!
These five tips will help you take a different approach this holiday season. You’ll be able to go to the party without anxiety, and instead be full of confidence about making smart, healthy choices.
While it can be a stressful time of year, especially with all of the treats, big meals, sweets, and drinks… You can still enjoy going to parties and remain on track with your health goals. Remember that the holidays are about spending time with friends and family, giving back to the less fortunate, and expressing gratitude for what you have been given.
There are plenty of opportunities for indulgence, but don’t fret! If you feel that you’ve gone too far, you can always get back on track.
To help you avoid that overindulgence in the first place, try these 5 tips:
- Ask Yourself: Am I Really Hungry?
Check back with yourself to gauge your hunger. Are truly hungry or are you just stressed? Anxious? Lonely? Excited? Are you eating simply because there’s a table full of food in front of you?
When you make this mental connection, you can then determine if you are actually hungry – or if emotions are guiding your consumption.
- Moderate Alcohol
Plenty of people like to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, but this time of year seems to make it easier to overindulge. Since avoiding alcoholic beverages altogether can be difficult this time of year, alternating between a drink and a non-alcoholic beverage can minimize the chance of a hangover the next morning. The hangover zone is not part of the holiday tradition!
It’s also worth it to remember that the calories add up quickly! The best choices are vodka, gin, tequila, or clear liquids with club soda, bitters, fresh citrus, or other aromatics. These don’t contribute to the sugar content. I prefer a vodka and soda with fresh squeezed lime juice. If you want to optimize your cocktail, avoid simple syrups, sugary juice mixes, fruit juices, and concentrates.
Keep these measurements in mind:
- 1 12-ounce of beer = 140-220 calories
- 1 5-ounce glass of wine = 80-120 calories
- 1 ounce of liquor = 90-100 calories
- Get Rid Of The Guilt
Feeling guilty after eating holiday foods can breed even more unhealthy behaviors!
So, abandon those negative voices in your head, and give yourself permission to enjoy some indulgence- guilt-free. You can get back on track the next day with lighter and healthier options!
Be realistic and consistent with your exercise and eating – there are temptations around the holidays, and you have the rest of the year to pursue your health goals. If you go back to the question, “Am I really hungry?” you may find you don’t actually want that second piece of pie.
- Be Mindful
The key to indulging “appropriately” is to be mindful when you are eating. Mindful eating is a practice I use regularly to connect the mind and body while eating or making food choices. Eating fast and grabbing every hors d’oeuvre is ignoring your body’s signals… It doesn’t allow the time for your body to catch up to your brain, so you may not actually know you’re full!
The body sends signals of satiation to the brain, but it can take 20 minutes – which is why we sometimes overindulge unconsciously. Slow down and let your body catch up with your brain’s signals!
- Don’t Skip Meals
This seems to be a popular strategy for many of my clients… However, skipping meals such as lunch or breakfast to “save” your calories for dinner will only slow your metabolism and lead to overeating. When we skip meals, our blood sugar tends to plunge, ushering in low energy, brain fog, and mood swings. This is exactly what we don’t want during the holidays!
Instead, try a light breakfast (such as a green smoothie with Vital Protein Powder) and a light lunch.
Keep these tips in mind as you get into the holiday season. There will be temptations galore, and a little bit of indulgence is ok – as long as you’re being mindful of how you’re going about it! Keep your brain involved to make clear choices, rise above guilt, and enjoy holiday festivities in a healthy way!