Whatever winter holidays you celebrate, they all have one thing in common: massive quantities of food. Creamy casseroles, delectable desserts, alcohol in abundance — it’s the perfect time to derail your diet.
Don’t succumb to holiday temptation! Here are 11 ways to guarantee you enjoy your holiday season in a healthy way.
1. Virtual meeting apps
Given these unprecedented times associated with the pandemic, it may be wise to eschew a large gathering.
Try checking in with family and friends via Zoom or another videoconferencing platform. This allows you to be in charge of all aspects of your food, from preparation to consumption.
It may be wise to spend 2020 with the people in your home. And if you take charge, your spouse, children, roommate, etc. will follow your lead with what’s on the table.
2. Don’t shop for groceries when you’re hungry
This is pretty self-explanatory, but we’re prone to impulse buying when we’re starving. Eat a sensible meal before you grocery shop, be it at the store or online. Also, plan the exact specifics of your list for the holiday meal —and do not deviate from that list.
3. Prepare your own food
Whether you’re in charge of the cooking for your own family or going elsewhere, take charge of your culinary choices. If you are dining with somebody else and don’t have control of the menu, be mindful of how much and what you eat. Discussing your diet is optional.
You can always say that you’re full from a previous meal in another home or just be honest and say you’re watching your weight this holiday season.
4. Start using an app to breakdown analyze your food habits
Track what you consume and it’s nutritional value [or lack thereof with an app. There are dozens of apps available for this very purpose. My Fitness Pal is free, compatible with iPhone and Android, and consistently receives high rankings.
5. Modify your dishes
Food hacks offer healthier substitutions for common ingredients.
Here are some of the best:
- Replace butter with applesauce
- Use Stevia instead of sugar
- Substitute low-fat milk for heavy cream
- Use Greek Yogurt instead of mayo, sour cream, and cream cheese
6. Enlist squad support
Everything works better with a buddy system. Find yourself an accountability partner. Bonus points if this person will be attending holiday events with you.
7. Eat salad or soup and drink water before the party
Doing so will help reduce your caloric intake during a meal. Don’t start the main meal on an empty stomach that’s growling with hunger. That is a surefire recipe for overeating.
8. Use a small plate
There is a direct correlation between how much a person eats and the size of their plate. Don’t go for the largest plate, even if that’s what everyone else is doing. Try using a bread plate for your main course.
9. Portion control is crucial
Be mindful of serving sizes and portion control. Know what’s being served at your meal and get online to research the appropriate portions. You don’t need to whip out measuring cups. Just have a ballpark figure to make sure you don’t get heavy-handed with the ladle.
10. Pick a favorite indulgence
Do not deprive yourself entirely. Choose one ‘treat’ and have a small amount. Remember, a craving can be satisfied in just a few bites. If a dessert spread tempts you, politely excuse yourself to assist with cleanup. Your host will thank you.
11. Watch your booze intake
Let’s say a political debate ensues while at the table. Tempting as it may be to grab a drink to diffuse your stress, choice your beverage carefully. Better yet, consider stepping outside to get some fresh air as a healthier alternative. If you must drink, here are some of the <a href=””>better options:
- Clear liquor mixed with soda water
- Martini (straight up)
- Scotch on the rocks
Be sure to avoid the egg nog, any cream-based drink, or sugar-laden cocktails. Consider not imbibing for the event. Not only will it save you empty calories, but you’ll also be more likely to make better food choices if you’re not munching as a result of feeling a buzz.
We hope you have a wonderful, safe, and healthy holiday season. Use these guidelines to make sure the holidays don’t control you. Nobody wants to feel sluggish or gain unwanted pounds. After all, we need to be clear-headed and ready to put our best foot forward as we welcome 2021!