Tips for Holiday Eating
- Be Realistic – Instead of trying to lose weight during the holidays, set a goal of weight maintenance. This is more realistic, freeing you from the “all or nothing” thinking that sabotages healthy eating.
- Plan Ahead – Try not to arrive to a party hungry. Eat a light but filling snack (such as Greek yogurt or a piece of fruit) before getting there. DO NOT SKIP meals, keep carbohydrates consistent throughout the day; try to stick to your usual meal plan.
- Avoid Overeating – Try to stay at least an arm’s length away from the food table before and after eating to prevent nibbling. Before heading through the buffet line, circle around the food table so you can choose the food you want to eat. Position yourself at the end of the line; you will be less likely to go back for seconds. Choose smaller portions of your favorite foods and eat slowly, savoring every bite. If you want to go for seconds, wait a few minutes first so you can really feel your body’s response to fullness.
- Alcohol – Limit alcohol since it is high in calories and CAN stimulate your appetite. If you want to drink alcohol, set a limit of one or two drinks per occasion. Always consume alcohol with food and avoid sweet wines and liqueurs. Try having club soda / calorie-free sparkling water, or water with a lime or lemon.
First, know your “SAFE” foods
- Turkey – White meat is lean and high in protein. But don’t eat the skin, and skip the stuffing.
- Gravy – Do not drown your turkey in gravy. But you can ladle a tablespoon or so onto your plate and dip the lines of your fork in it before taking a bite of turkey. That way, your turkey won’t be as dry, but you won’t overindulge.
- Sweet potatoes – We’re not talking about the ones smothered in butter, brown sugar and marshmallows. If broiled or baked, sweet potatoes are very healthy sources of Vitamin A, filling and tasty.
- Vegetables – Remember to avoid veggies in in creamy sauces or with lots of butter or cheese. Roasted vegetable dishes are a good substitute for casserole sides. Salads are also great too!
- Cranberry sauce – Cranberries are high in antioxidants and bursting with flavor. You can feel free to use cranberry sauce in place of gravy to give your turkey a zing.
- Water – Keep a water glass handy at all times. Drinking plenty of water will help you feel full.
Holiday Exercise Tips
For many, the holidays equal shopping, quality time with family and gorging on cookies, cakes and holiday feasts. While the hustle and bustle of the season may tempt you to take a hiatus from healthy eating and exercise, you can stay fit through the holidays by incorporating exercise into your favorite seasonal activities.
- Set Realistic Fitness Goals – The holidays tend to be busy, and it might not be realistic for you to get in your customary daily hour at the gym. Instead of setting yourself up for disappointment by trying to fit too much into the holiday season, modify your goals to something achievable, the American Council on Exercise suggests.
- Sweat While You Shop – By turning your holiday shopping runs to the mall into exercise sessions, you’ll save yourself time while burning off Thanksgiving dinner. Texas Woman’s University recommends parking in the back of the lot and power-walking around the mall a few times before you begin bargain hunting.
- Exercise in Short Spurts – You should be getting 30 to 60 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise at least four days per week, the Mayo Clinic advises–but you don’t have to get it all at the same time. Shovel the snow from your driveway in the morning, go for a short jog after lunch and take your dog for a stroll in the evening.
- Transform Family Time into Fitness Time – Spending time with loved ones is part of what makes the holidays so special, but you don’t have to give up this time to exercise. Instead, recruit your family and friends to join you in your fitness pursuits. Stage a snowball fight, go ice-skating or rake the leaves together to get your heart rate up while enjoying the company.
- At-Home Workout – Instead of spending your time driving to the gym and back, invest in a home workout DVD. Many call for inexpensive and basic equipment, such as resistance bands, an exercise ball or dumbbells, and you can always find 20 minutes to pop in the video between holiday activities.
A Couple of Last Hints
Stay Off the Blood Sugar Roller Coaster
Eat foods that won’t spike your blood sugar. Stick to lean pprotein, veggies and fruits. Drink water. The trick is to stay away from foods that will trigger a binge. People who think having a harmless piece of toast with jelly as a snack won’t tank a diet need to be wary. One small snack such as this can cause even the most dedicated dieter to leap off into a vat of pasta if they are even remotely insulin resistant, which means as their blood sugar raises rapidly, so will insulin, which in turn can trigger a voracious appetite! Stick to your program and prevent sugar rushes which can end in diet disaster!
Forgive, Forget and Focus!
So, you overindulge one night. You wake up and have an “Oh @#$%!” moment. You blew it. We all do at one point or another. But then we have the opportunity to get back in the saddle again. Forgive yourself and get back on your program. Eat leaner than usual. Engage in more physical activity than you normally would. Get proactive. Remember that “Fat Ninja?” You can slip back into that powerful warrior mode and still be successful. Don’t give in to eating more things that aren’t good for you since you already had a weak moment. It is now time to forgive yourself, get strong and get happy focusing upon how you are going to look and feel on New Year’s Day!