Maintaining Your Health During The Holidays
Holidays bring family and friends together to celebrate traditions and spread good cheer. They also bring lots of opportunities for socializing, eating, and drinking. Even the most disciplined people struggle with temptation during the holiday season.
To navigate the party landmines with your healthy diet intact, you need a strategy. Experts agree Having a plan in place will help you handle night after night of eating and drinking.
To help you survive the seasonal parties without packing on the pounds, I offer the following suggestions
- Trim back the trimmings. To shave calories, go easy when adding nuts, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter, and whipped cream additions that don't add much to the meal, but can add plenty to your waistline. Trim calories wherever you can so you leave the party feeling satisfied, but not stuffed.
- Wear snug clothes and keep one hand busy. When you wear snug-fitting attire, chances are you'll be too busy holding in your stomach to overeat. While you stand around looking posh in your holiday finery, hold a drink in your dominant hand so it won't be so easy to grab food.
- Chew gum. When you don't want to eat, pop a piece of sugarless gum into your mouth. This works well when you're cooking or when you're trying not to dive into the buffet.
- Be a food snob. If you don't love it, don't eat it. Scan the buffet for foods you truly treasure and skip the everyday dishes that are available all year long. And don't think it's your responsibility to sample everything on the buffet. Go ahead and indulge in your personal holiday favorites, then find a seat and, slowly and mindfully, savor every mouthful.
- No skipping meals. Always eat normally on the day of a party. People who skip meals to save up calories tend to overeat everything in sight once they get there, Eating sensibly throughout the day will take the edge off the appetite and empower a bit of restraint. Start with a nourishing breakfast. Meal replacement shakes, fruits and vegetables, whole grains are the items we should have in our refrigerator and pantry. Clinical studies have shown that meal replacement shakes can provide all the nutrients your body needs to get through the day. Eat in intervals throughout the day, every 3 hours, in small portions. Add fruits or veggies into the shake, and try different flavors for variety.
- Check it out. When you arrive at the party, grab a sparkling water with a twist, and wait at least 30 minutes before eating. This will give you time to relax, get comfortable in your surroundings, and survey your food choices on the buffet before diving in. A buffet is an invitation to eat all you can, and unless you carefully scrutinize it and make wise choices, you're likely to overeat.
- Add fun and games. Being physically active every day is another important key to surviving the holidays. It releases stress & revives energy to get you through the day. It also gives you a practical aspect to get away from the kitchen and away from food. Remember to replenish after the workout, with protein & water, this helps build the muscle. So a shake after a workout is the best gift you can give your body!
- Alternate alcohol with nonalcoholic beverages. Alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories — especially holiday favorites like eggnog. Cut your alcohol calories in half by alternating water or seltzer between alcoholic beverages.
- Skip the appetizers. Have a shake before you go out or if you need a little nibble before the meal, go for the veggies, fruit, salsa, or a small handful of nuts.
- Limit the variety. I recommend only two items on your plate when you go to the food table. Return as many times as you like, but only take two items each time. Variety stimulates appetite, and if you limit your choices to just a few items and stick with these, it will be easier to control than eating a little bit of 20 different dishes.