The holidays are a time of year that are filled with family, dinners, parties, cocktails, cookies, shopping and of course the stress of trying to get it all done. Don’t let the holidays derail you from your fitness goals. It takes a little effort, but you can avoid the weight gain that is oh so commonly associated with this time of year. Check out my tips for clean eating during the holidays and start your new year off ahead of everyone else.
1. Eat Breakfast: Eating a healthy breakfast everyday sets the tone for your day. If you try to skip it and opt for a trip to the local coffee shop for a sugary mega-super-ginormous latte, you’re setting yourself up for overeating later in the day. Having breakfast and eating small, clean meals through out the day is also going to be your key to success on the days you have parties or events to attend. You’ll keep your energy high and your blood sugar stable, which will result in less cravings for caffeine, sugar and fatty foods.
Bonus Tip: If you skip breakfast because you are always short on time in the morning, consider making these Healthy Egg Muffins or adding a nutrient dense smoothie to your morning routine.
2. Be Prepared: On days when you’ll be running around shopping, make sure that you carry healthy snack options with you so you can avoid becoming hangry. A piece of fruit, some homemade trail mix, a nutrition bar or some raw nuts are all great, portable options to keep on hand. Long lines and crowds can be energy draining, so it’s important to have healthy energy boosts on hand. The last thing you want is to be tempted by the candy options while on line to check out.
Bonus Tip: Slow cookers can be a life saver during this time of year. You can find lots of Clean Eating Slow Cooker Recipes on my Pinterest board.
3. Manage Portion Sizes: When attending cocktail parties or buffets, opt for the smallest plate option available. Doing so will keep your portion sizes in check and it will reduce your chances of over stuffing yourself. Having a smaller plate will also force you to get up to refill it. This will give you time to truly think if you want more and if you do, you’ll at least get a little bit of activity in the process.
Bonus Tip: Carry sugar-free mints or gum with you to holiday parties. The minty flavor will keep you from picking on foods.
4. Indulge Wisely: Don’t overdue it on foods you can have anytime of year. Save the splurges for foods that you only have access to during the holiday season, like grandma’s pecan pie or the first batch of cookies for the season that your children helped to make. By doing so, you won’t feel cheated or like you can’t enjoy the foods that may be linked to childhood memories. When you head into the holidays knowing that these special foods are okay, you’ll reduce the risk of feeling like a failure which can result in binge eating. Strive for balance, not perfection!
Bonus Tip: Make a list of the foods that you only have around the holidays and make sure you balance them out with healthier options. Remember, just because you give yourself permission to have these special foods doesn’t meant it’s okay in gorge yourself on them.
5. Make It Yourself: If you’re invited to a dinner party, don’t be afraid to call the host or hostess and ask if you could bring a dish. Many times this is very appreciated and it will give you an opportunity to ensure there is a healthy option at the gathering.
Bonus Tip: On days you know you have a special event revolving around food, make sure you get some exercise in. From a 30 minute walk to a short yoga season to help you stay calm and collected. Exercise can help you make wiser food choices.
The holidays don’t have to undo all of the hard work you’ve put into health this year. Just look ahead at your week and make a plan! You may even inspire someone else in the process.
For some more holiday tips, be sure to check out this past post: Here Comes the Holidays