Part of what makes the holidays ‘the holidays’ is the food. Indulging in those delicacies can present several problems. First, holiday offerings may include ingredients which are not normally part of your healthy diet. Second, holiday foods are usually richer than everyday foods, leading to weight gain.
If you are doing the cooking, you’ll be able to strike a balance between calorie-laden foods and healthier-eating options. However, if someone else is the chef, it’s not so easy.
By adopting a common sense approach to holiday eating, people really can have their cake and eat it, too.
Tip #1: Arrive with a dish that suits you.
One way to make sure that there is something healthy for you to eat is to bring it with you. In the holiday spirit, make enough for others to share. You may also want to let your host or hostess know in advance. While some people don’t mind when guests bring food, others do. If you explain your reasons, chances are there will be no hurt feelings.
Tip #2: Bend your eating times as needed.
It is important to keep your blood sugar at a steady level. So, the idea of skipping a meal to compensate for the later ‘heavy’ meal is not recommended. This actually leads to overeating.
A better solution is to adjust your mealtimes. For example, you usually eat breakfast at 7 am, lunch at 1 pm, and dinner at 5:30 pm. You receive an invitation to a 4 pm holiday dinner. On that day, eat a lighter breakfast at 7 am. At noon, have a snack that counts as the remainder of your breakfast. Around 3 pm, have something light. Now, you won’t feel too hungry during dinner at 4 and can enjoy without overdoing.
Tip #3: Continue with your exercise routine.
Invitations and holiday closures may interfere with your usual fitness program. So, be flexible and creative. Find out in advance about the holiday schedule for your exercise classes or fitness center. Make a temporary workout plan that meshes with your event list. Also, consider alternatives. If your usual ‘menu choice’ such as yoga will not work out, why not taste something new like Pilates?
Tip #4: Take backsliding in your stride.
A divergence from your eating program is not the end of the world. If you do choose items which are not part of your healthy diet, pay attention to portion size. Often, a taste or two will be enough to satisfy the craving.
Tip #5: Become a picky eater.
Really think about each holiday treat you are tempted to choose. Do you love it? Is it a quality item (for example homemade rather than store-bought)? Will you feel that eating it was a worthy indulgence? If not, use your willpower to move away and find something more worthwhile.
Trying your best to maintain your healthy lifestyle is a good way to keep your holidays joyful.