It’s the holiday season, once again, and for many of us, that means lots of soirees, celebrations, and delicious holiday food. Your calendar may be full of festivities, but that doesn’t mean that you have to do away with your healthy habits. Here are our seven top strategies for enjoying a piece of the holiday pie (pun intended) without getting too off track.
1. Portion your plate.
Make your plate ½ non-starchy veggies, ¼ lean protein, ¼ carbohydrate or starchy veggies (potatoes, peas, corn, yams, pumpkin). This is an easy way to get a bit of everything without overindulging.
Need a visual guide to building a balanced plate? We’ve got you covered.
2. Drink wisely.
Juice, soda, and alcoholic beverages are high in Calories and sugar and provide little fulfillment. Furthermore, alcohol lowers blood sugars levels and can leave you piling your plate high with not-so-nutritious food. If you choose to drink, keep it simple and skip the fancy cocktails. Alternate between sips of water and your alcoholic beverage.
3. Eat often.
Extreme hunger often leads to overindulgence and poor food choices. Enjoy frequent small meals throughout the day rather than ‘saving up’ for a big meal to keep your hunger in check and avoid overdoing it during the party.
4. Location, location, location.
Position yourself away from the snacks to avoid mindless noshing and keep cravings at bay. The smell of holiday favorites, such as pies and cookies, can be a powerful magnet for many. In addition, research suggests that having a strong visual image of food can heighten food cravings. The bottom line: out of sight out of mind!
5. Split dessert with a family member.
Desserts are a big piece of holiday celebrations but the extra calories add up quickly, especially when you have several functions. Rather than skipping dessert altogether, split dessert with a friend or family member. You’ll consume half the Calories, fat and sugar, and have just as much fun!
6. Plan to move.
It’s easy to forget about exercise when your schedule is filling up with festivities. Pre-commit to some form of movement during the holidays by blocking out time on your calendar. It can be as simple as walking with a friend or family member, or you can take it up a notch with a gym class or app-based workout. It doesn’t have to be long, hard or inconvenient– a little sweat session can go a long way.
7. Stress less.
Holidays stress can predispose you to not-so-healthy food and drink decisions, and suck all the enjoyment out of the holidays. Whether you’re staying put or traveling, be sure to practice a little self-care during the holiday period. Get outside, exercise, listen to music, meditate, and/or keep a gratitude journal to keep stress at bay.