10 Easy Ways to Eat Healthy During Holidays
We all love holidays, don’t we? We spend weeks shopping for presents, and then long hours carefully wrapping them. We dress up our Christmas trees with diligence and maximum originality. We send out guest invitations and postcards, wishing merry holidays and happy New Year. We prepare long menus, considering tastes and whims of everyone at the table. No wonder, when the holiday season comes to an end, we feel busted at best. At worst – we feel fat. That extra serving of your mama’s special mashed potatoes, that extra slice of turkey, that extra dollop of ice-cream on your pudding – all those extras “miraculously” transform into added numbers on scales, and you end up feeling guilty for letting yourself go. Does it always have to be the same? Not at all! Below you will find 10 Easy Ways to Eat Healthy During Holidays, and never feel guilty again!
10. Stop making resolutions you won’t keep
“I am finishing this plate, but first thing in the morning I am signing up for the gym”. “I’ll get another piece of cake, but tomorrow – I won’t take a bite”! Now, how many of suchlike promises were you actually able to keep? Not many, right? Firstly, if you are not working out on regular basis right now, chances are, you WON’T be hitting the gym anytime soon. So don’t comfort yourself, thinking that you’d happily sweat out extra-pounds tomorrow. Instead, before you reach for that extra-something, ask yourself, whether you really-really need? If you are still hungry – that’s fine, go for it. But if you are finishing your dish only out of respect for your favorite grandma, or simply because that darn cake is too delicious to resist a second slice – not so good.
- “And if I am hungry”?
I actually know the feeling. You tried this, you had that, and if you are smart enough to take smaller portions – you might still feel hungry at the end of the meal. The safest way is to have something healthy to munch on. Say, cheese, packed with protein, makes up for great and filling snack (unless, of course you eat half a pound of it). Arrange assorted cheese on a plate, with nuts, fresh fruit and may be some honey, and have a few bites if you are indeed feeling hungry. Not a fan of cheese? Go for crudités – classical French appetizer of raw vegetables, served with simple vinaigrette, creamy sauce or just plain Greek yogurt with chopped fresh herbs, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil.
- Don’t get drunk
Even if you don’t have to drive your aunty to the airport after the dinner, you should really think twice before having a shot of tequila. Alcohol triggers our appetite, mostly because it is linked to the so-called GABA receptor – and that GABA-guy is responsible, guess, for what? Our anxiety levels! So, alcohol on its own does not make us hungrier – it switches off our wariness, muffles our consciousness, and when your tammy has given up already, your brain ponders on more food. Of course, a glass or two of wine won’t do you bad, but make it a bottle – and your fitness plan is done.
- Don’t break the habit
If you have previously struggled with weight, you surely have a list of “banned” foods. S T I C K to this list. Don’t go “but it is a holiday! I can give myself a treat!”, if you know in advance that it won’t be just a treat, rather than an entire plate of fat, carbs, sugar and more fat. Instead, think of a couple of foods that you really-really crave for, and establish safe portion sizes.
- Look for healthier alternatives
Even if you are not exactly Gordon Ramsay, Christmas season is the right time to show a bit of initiative in the kitchen. The web is literally overflown with thousands of healthy recipes – many of them are as fit for festive table as stuffed turkey or roast beef. Winter greens with light anchovy dressing; turkey breast stuffed with dried fruit and chestnuts; roasted root vegetables; poached fruit – you’d be surprised to find out that not everything what belongs to your Christmas table has to be fattening.
- Don’t rush to tell anyone
Telling even your close relatives that this season you’d be lowering your calorie intake can be really tricky. First and foremost, most of them – prepare to that – will accuse you of being completely and utterly insane. As crazy as it sounds, but even though basically every one of us tend to slightly overeat during Holidays, when someone pushes to break that, people around go all judgmental. You don’t need that stress, right? So when someone wonders why there is too little bacon on your plate, hold it together and put another bacon right next to your green salad. And leave it right there.
- Engage in conversation
I am definitely not suggesting that you chew and talk at the same time – instead, try putting down the fork and suggest an interesting topic for discussion. When you’d focus on conversation, you’d be less prone to overfill your plate with food.
- Don’t use gravy for dunking bread
Even if you are not exactly looking for up-to-date information on dieting trends, you surely have heard of Atkins, and maybe even more recent – LCHF (low carbs high fat). Both diets insist on reducing carb intake and introducing more protein-rich food in your nutrition plan. Now, I won’t agitate you to start a new diet plan, but there is a certain amount of credibility to the statement that lowering carbs and upping protein can be beneficial for your health. How is that? Protein digestion consumes more calories than that of carbohydrates, and at the same time gives you a prolonged feeling of satiety. So, next time you are helping yourself to a spoonful of gravy, be sure you use it to pour onto your turkey – not to end up cleansing it off the plate with bread.
- Don’t starve yourself
You might be lured into thinking that eating less on the day of Christmas dinner, is a good idea – less food, less calories, less weight on the scales. The problem is, when we skip our meals, especially breakfast, we tend to consume those same calories we tried to cut by eating larger meals, or snacking. It is much better, and healthier to have smaller portions prior to your dinner, than to starve all day and then sweep away half of the table.
- Enjoy… the hell out of it
The most important thing is, however, to remember that this is the holiday season, time for the family to gather, time to relax and enjoy your life. Don’t let all this calorie counting and portion measuring spoil your Christmas mood, and get in the way of family celebration. Serve yourself enough food to enjoy it, but not until you get stomach ache, and trust, you’d be absolutely fine.