The time has come… the holidays are here! With many festive days coming up within the next week or two – Christmas, Hanukkah, New Years Eve, and more – we hope you’re feeling that joyful, wonderful holiday spirit just as much as we are. Chances are you have some exciting party plans filled with family and friends, food, drinks, and laughter galore.
While these parties are a blast – and you most definitely deserve to have some fun this time of year – they’re also not the best for your fitness and nutrition goals. Between limited time to stick with your typical exercise and healthy routines, and the omnipresence of cakes, cookies, and chocolate, this time of year can certainly throw you off. And while you should obviously take the chance to spoil yourself a little, it’s also important for your overall health (it is the time of year that colds come along, after all) that you stay on a fairly healthy path.
What are some key tips for enjoying the “holidaze” the healthy way?
- Don’t skip meals. While it may be tempting to skip breakfast or lunch to “save the calories” for a huge dinner later, this isn’t an effective option. Skipping meals may lead you to binge later on unhealthy goodies. Start your day with a light, protein-rich breakfast (like scrambled eggs with spinach), and continue with a fruit-and-veggie-packed lunch. With your mood and metabolism stable, you’ll be more likely to eat the right portion of the good stuff come dinnertime.
- Fill up on protein and fiber. Whether before the meal or during, sticking to the dishes that prioritize protein (fish, meats, beans, eggs) or fiber (dense veggies, lentils, nuts) will ensure you chow down on the good stuff first, rather than those simple carbohydrates and sugars that you burn quickly (white bread, cookies). Always add as many veggies to your plate as you can; they’re filled with vitamins, fiber, and water that pack your tummy with nutritious goodness.
- Savor your food. We all have fond memories of how delicious some of our favorite, traditional holiday meals can be. Take the time to eat slowly and savor every bite at the table this year. Eating mindfully – paying attention to the tastes in every bite – allows you to enjoy your food more while getting fuller, faster.
- Eat your favorites, and stay away from the rest. We know that every holiday table is filled with beautiful, festive, delicious foods that look divine. But if don’t tend to enjoy sugar cookies, don’t grab them. Fill your plate with the dishes you know you really love; don’t waste your hard work on something you don’t truly enjoy. If there’s something new on the table, try a few bites, decide on your preference, then either scarf it down or leave it be. Your discerning taste buds will thank you!
- Always enjoy holidays guilt-free. There’s no need to ever feel guilty about what you eat, particularly around the holidays. If you’re dying for a slice of holiday pie, go for it, and enjoy every second of it! Abandon any negative voices in your head (after all, the holidays are all about love and positivity!) and indulge guilt-free. You deserve it! In the same vein, never feel guilty about respectfully declining food your family offers you. It’s your body and your decision, and if you’re full, you’re full. Tell your loved ones you’ll try the dish next year, and move forward into an enjoyable, relaxing evening!
How do you stay healthy throughout holiday parties? What are your best tricks? Let us know in the comments below.