How to Stick to Your Healthy Eating Plan During the Holidays
‘Tis the season’ for family, friends, festivities, and food— lots and lots of food.
And when temptations are everywhere in the form of sweet eats, savory comfort dishes, and delicious cocktails, it gets extremely difficult to stay on point with your healthy eating plan when faced with all the parties and get-togethers you’re running between.
What’s a health conscious person to do? 🤷🏻♀️
Well, never fear! You don’t need to completely deprive yourself of all those fun and delicious eating opportunities. Instead, by practicing a bit of defensive eating and cooking, you can make it through the holidays without making “lose 15 pounds of holiday weight” one of your New Year’s resolutions.
Here are 5 simple tips to help you:
Tip #1: Fuel Up before You Fill Up
Before leaving the house to go to that office party or meet up with friends at that favorite restaurant of yours, pre-game by eating something healthy prior so you’re not so hungry when you show up.
Excellent choices include complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and unsaturated fats – all foods that will help curb your appetite.
Tip #2: Keep the Activity Level High
We get it: there is a TON on your plate this time of year, so it’s easy to let your exercise regiment slide or, at the very least, let it take a back burner to all the other commitments you have.
But staying active is one of your best secret weapons when it comes to fighting off the holiday bulge. More calories burned means more calories you can eat without creating a huge caloric surplus.
Stay on track with the gym and your daily exercise as much as you can, and if you can’t fit those things in… Get moving with friends and family, like by taking walks after holiday meals.
Tip #3: Sleep Enough
Who has time for sleep when there are places to go, people to meet, and delicious dishes to sample?
Understand that lack of sleep can directly impact blood sugar and hormone levels, leading to increased hunger and appetite – all of which makes overeating far more likely, especially since the holidays create so many more opportunities to do so.
Simply put, when you are sleep-deprived, you’ll tend to eat more in addition to preferring high-fat, high-sugar foods.
Aim for 7 to 8 hours of solid sleep per night to guard against mindless eating and binging.
Tip #4: Be Smart About Alcohol Consumption
Responsible drinking can be enjoyable, but let’s be real – it’s a diet killer. That being said, if you are going to indulge, do it wisely.
First, avoid drinking on an empty stomach since alcohol will increase your appetite while diminishing your ability to control what you eat.
Second, what you drink matters quite a bit. For example, a glass of eggnog can set you back 500 calories; meanwhile, wine, beer, and mixed drinks range from 150 to 225 calories. Try to avoid the drinks that are high in sugar or fat and go for lower carb options.
And, If you do drink alcohol, have a glass of water in between drinks.
Tip #5: Cook for Your Heart
If you are going to be doing a lot of cooking for guests, be creative with recipes that might call for butter, cream, and vegetable shortening or other saturated fats. Try to find “skinny” options for those holiday favorites or try swapping out unhealthy ingredients with more nutritious alternatives such as olive oil, canola, and Greek yogurt.
Additionally, opt for turkey or fish dishes instead of red meat or pork whenever possible.
The holidays are supposed to be a fun time of year and it’s perfectly fine if you indulge a bit with your diet choices. As long as you exercise some restraint and practice some “defensive eating,” you should be just fine and come through the next two months without the extra pounds but with plenty of great memories.
Enjoy, and don’t forget: should you need support along your weight loss journey, reach out to your nearest Bee Healthy Clinic.