While the holidays may look different for many this year, one thing that won’t be different is the food. Rich appetizers, homemade favorites, and mouth-watering desserts are a staple in many homes over the holiday season. That’s why it’s easy to over-indulge if you aren’t careful. Fending off those extra calories may be easier than you think, though! Here are 10 healthy holiday tips to help you survive the holidays. Remember, if you slip up, make your next choice a healthier one, and don’t beat yourself up!
Studies have shown that a healthy breakfast in the morning keeps you from having cravings and overeating later in the day. Skip the donuts and sugary cereal, though. Try to stick with foods that are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Oatmeal, avocado, berries, eggs, chia seeds, and even apples with peanut butter are all great options to kick start your day.
Tip #2: Stay hydrated.
Keeping up on your water intake helps curb those sugar cravings and often prevents you from overeating. If you notice a craving for something sweet, down a full glass of water first, then reassess if you really want it before you eat.
Tip #3: Never go to a party hungry.
Eat some fruit, raw nuts, or a fat-free yogurt before you go head to a big holiday meal. Ten almonds 30-minutes before a big meal is only 70 calories and a good source of healthy fats. It will also help fill you up a little, so you don’t overdo portion sizes at the big meal!
Tip #4: Grab a smaller plate.
It’s so easy to spoon a ginormous serving of calorie-rich food onto your plate when it’s hanging out on a 12-inches open space. Opt for a smaller salad plate for your main course and keep those sinful servings that are full of empty calories to a minimum. Mindless eating can be your downfall when your plate is piled high with goodies.
Tip #5: Eat the best-for-you options first.
Load your plate up with nutrient-rich leafy greens, veggies, and low-fat proteins first. If you want something that doesn’t fall into those categories, simply take a smaller portion. This will not only fill you up faster, but you won’t feel deprived of some of your favorite holiday treats. Remember, not all holiday veggies are healthy (yep…. we’re talking to you, green bean casserole and sweet potatoes drenched in marshmallows)!
Tip #6: Choose your indulgences.
Instead of grabbing all your favorites (some of which you eat all year long), pick items that are special for the season, such as grandma’s pie or your child’s homemade Christmas cookies. You don’t have to deprive yourself to make healthy choices over the holidays. Just keep the portions small and make a treat… not a nightly tradition.
Tip #7: Eat slowly.
Sit next to a healthy eater (or Great Aunt Kathy who loves to chat and takes forever to eat). This will help you pace your food intake and give your brain time to realize your body is full. Did you know it takes 20-minutes for the “I’m full” signal to fully compute?
Tip #8: Focus on being social.
Conversation is calorie-free, and standing or walking around burns more calories than sitting at a table noshing. So instead of crashing on the couch after you eat, pick an active family game, or work together to clean the dishes up!
Tip #9: Keep exercising.
We get that the holidays are busy, so if you feel like you don’t have time for a full workout, go for a couple of 10-15 minute walks or bursts of exercise a day. This can be just as effective at maintaining your overall fitness.
Tip #10: Get some sleep!
Holiday busyness (and Christmas movies) can have you up later than usual and cut into your much-needed sleep. That can make it harder to control your cravings as your body craves sugar and high-fat foods for quick energy. Fair warning, these foods also make you more tired in the long run. Try to get at least 7 to 8 hours a night to help you ward off cravings and mindless eating.
Bottom Line on Surviving the Holidays
Making healthy choices doesn’t have to be hard, especially if we go into the holidays with a game plan. As always, a quick stop in to see your AlignLife chiropractor can also help get your body functioning at its best and help you manage your holiday stress. Or, check out these great nutrition products from Aceva, the clinically inspired supplement line recommended by AlignLife doctors. Their Everyday Basics Bundle is great for filling in nutrition gaps. Their Immune Boost Bundle will help you and your family build a strong defense for cold and flu season. And their Chill Out Bundle is fantastic for helping reduce holiday stress!