Thinking about good nutrition for the holidays isn’t normally at the top of the list. That’s especially true when a coworker brings in those delicious treats or your standing in front of the dessert table at your holiday get-together. Everywhere you turn there’s something tempting to buy. It’s especially true when you’ve skipped dinner and opted for shopping first. You’ll often find bags of holiday treats in your cart and eat them in the car on the way to your next stop. Stop! Put down that box of pastries or that bag of candy in holiday shapes. Prepare for it, lest you fall in the trap and destroy everything you’ve gained over months.
It all takes careful planning.
Staying healthy takes planning. It should include making sure you get adequate sleep, schedule in exercise time and finally, planning healthy nutritious food for the holidays. That doesn’t mean you have to have a detailed program, just keep a few things at the top of the list as you plan for the week. One very obvious thing you can do is to take healthy snacks to work. Fresh fruit, nuts and other healthy snacks also make a nice surprise for the office goodie table. If you choose not to buy for everyone, keep these snacks in your desk to help avoid eating a dozen cookies or those delicious puff pastries.
Learn to choose and eat healthy foods first.
No matter where you’re eating, whether it’s at home, in a restaurant or at a friend’s home, there’s always something healthier on the table. It might be a salad or side vegetables. Fill your plate with the healthy options and choose smaller amounts of unhealthy foods. You can eat some unhealthy foods, just don’t make them a whole meal. This is the holidays, after all, not part of your daily eating pattern. You can have some of the goodies, just don’t fill up on unhealthy food first. Start with the healthiest so you’ll be filled up when you get to the high calorie options.
Drink a glass of water before the meal and eat a meal before you leave home.
Some people save their appetite for that big holiday meal. Nothing could be more dangerous if you’ve been shedding pounds. Cake looks sweeter, mashed potatoes look better and that stuffing….OH MY! That stuffing looks delicious. You can use two tricks to help you cut back on food. The first is to eat a healthy meal before you leave your house, so you’ll be less hungry and less likely to graze. The second option is to have 16 ounces of water 30 minutes before a meal to curb your appetite.
- If you bring a dish for a holiday celebration, bring a healthy option that can be used for grazing. Everyone will appreciate it.
- Plan an activity after a meal. A walk can be especially good, since it provides some exercise, gets you away from the table and can help prevent overeating after the meal has ended.
- Eat slowly. Not only will it help your digestion, since a lot of it takes place in your mouth, it will also give your brain time to recognize you’re full, avoiding overeating.
- Make smarter choices. Pumpkin pie is lower in calories than pecan pie and has far less sugar. Drink wine spritzers that substitutes club soda for some of the wine and calories. Choose white meat like the breast of the turkey and skip the skin.