Christmas is just around the corner and with the festive holiday comes all sorts of tempting foods that can throw your body and healthy lifestyle into a tizzy.
Holiday food can inspire both anxiety and ecstasy, depending on your mindset. The good news is that the average weight gain for the holiday season is just one pound. Although that doesn’t sound like much, the bad news is that research shows we don’t lose it and that one pound adds up year after year.
Sweet treats and rich meals can be landmines for health-conscious people, but feeling deprived can be traumatic during the festive time. Do not fear, because holiday time doesn’t mean that you have to abandon every healthy lesson that you’ve learned. There are plenty of sensible ways to navigate your way around the holiday’s food tables without stressing yourself crazy.
Here are a few tips to avoid the usual pitfalls and keep those calories in check while enjoying the season and staying healthy during the holidays:
Try to avoid overeating by spreading your indulgences over days instead of hours. Don’t try to make a four-day feast into a one-day indulgence. Spread it out, and you’ll enjoy it more.
Feeling guilty after eating foods you don’t usually allow yourself can breed more unhealthy behaviours, so abandon those negative voices in your head and permit yourself to enjoy the indulgence guilt-free. Remember to get back on track with your healthy eating routine the very next day and until the next event arrives.
Food is a major theme of the holidays, but excesses can lead to digestive troubles including indigestion. You should moderate your food intake and know when you’ve had enough. Eating slowly helps too because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to let you know you’re full.
Pick foods that give you true enjoyment instead of piling your plate a mile high with things that don’t tantalize your taste buds. If something doesn’t make you swoon, leave it on the sideline. Also, try to go easy on the appetizers, desserts and cream sauces and opt for healthy choices like veggies and lean protein. Make sure you drink plenty of water, which will help make you feel full.
Alcohol is always part of the festivities, so you have to be aware of the calories and alcohol intake during this time of the year. On average, most adults consume almost 100 calories a day from alcoholic beverages.
Avoiding alcoholic beverages altogether may be hard during this time of merriment, but you can minimize the damage by alternating between an alcoholic beverage and a zero-calorie sparkler or light wine. This will help you avoid pouring on the pounds. Sparkling water can help to keep things festive and you get the bonus of not entering the hangover zone.
You can also offer to bring the party punch and upgrade your traditional recipe with natural sweeteners or fruit juices. To go even one step further, ditch the booze altogether and replace it with club soda for a sparkling mocktail. Although your guests might miss the buzz that alcohol provides, no one will miss the extra calories. And, if you really want to bypass those calories, you can skip the eggnog.
Sad but True
Unfortunately, there is a sad-but-true fact about staying healthy during the holidays. You can gain weight even if you eat healthily. You can overdo it with the veggies and dip or creamy soups and sauces if you overindulge. Just like with ice cream, pies and cakes and cookies, at least you know it’s an indulgence, so make sure you’re not eating something based solely on its health-food aura. To stay healthy, don’t feel deprived and enjoy yourself, keep an eye on your portion sizes during the holidays. When they have come and gone, you will feel really good about yourself and find it easier to get back on track.