The holidays are often a hectic and indulgent time of year for most. Between holiday parties at the office to hosting Christmas dinner with friends and family, it can be very easy to unknowingly consume thousands of extra calories in December. With careful planning, a little resolve, and a lot of determination you can enjoy all the joys of the holiday season without packing on the pounds.
Consume Smaller Portions
There is no need to resort to eating sugar-free or low-fat goodies during the holidays. Fat-free eggnog simply does not have the same taste, texture, or appeal as the full-fat variety. Sugar-free cookies are often dry and quite bland. Research shows that the first few bites of any decadent treat are the most satisfying and rewarding. Instead of consuming these treats mindlessly, cut a small sliver of pie or have a small glass of eggnog. Focus on savoring the flavor and experience.
Focus on Pre-Snacking
Holiday gatherings and office parties are calorie traps during the holidays. One effective way to steer clear of eating every tasty treat in sight is to eat a balanced snack or mini-meal before heading to the event. A nutritious smoothie with vegetables, fruits, and nut butters will fill you up and may prevent overindulgence. An apple with peanut butter or a handful of nuts and berries in Greek yogurt will stave off hunger and set the tone for preventing mindless snacking at holiday events.
Double-Down on Drinks
Holiday spritzers and alcoholic mixed drinks have hidden sugars and calories. Imbibing can lead to making poor food choices and going overboard with drinking. One effective way to minimize the risk of drinking too much and consuming too many calories is by alternating water with an alcoholic beverage. A glass of club soda or tonic water in between alcoholic drinks will make you feel like you are still partaking in the festivities—plus it aids in the digestion and absorption of foods and alcohol.
There is no law that states that all foods at family gatherings must be consumed during the holidays. It is perfectly acceptable to decline an offering, snack, or treat. Family, friends and co-workers will probably respect and compliment the resolve shown when one passes on indulging in decadent holiday treats.
Another great way to maintain good health and nutrition during the Christmas season is to keep yourself busy. Brushing one’s teeth immediately after hosting Christmas dinner, offering to help clean up at the office party, or engaging in a side conversation at a holiday networking event are all great ways to engage in mindful eating.
Sometimes, despite the best intentions, overindulgence happens. Instead of getting down on yourself, recover quickly and effectively by making smart food choices and staying properly hydrated the days following the event. A food hangover causes bloating, fullness, and a cloudy feeling that will zap your energy. To snap the body out of a food fog, eat small, light meals with lean sources of protein, vegetables, and fruits. Drink lots of water and avoid eating refined and sugary carbs that cause insulin levels to spike and then crash.
With all the hustle and bustle during December, it can be easy to forget the true meaning of the holiday season. Keep your focus on family and community gatherings, and you’ll find it’s easier to maintain good health during the holiday season.