Eating healthy during the holidays doesn’t have to be as daunting as it sounds. It should add fun to the spirit of the upcoming weeks, instead of appearing like a big bah humbug! The mantra that it’s harder to lose weight than to put it on is true for many of us. Gaining weight over this holiday season may seem inevitable, which only adds to the stress that accompanies this time of year. However, thinking in terms of weight maintenance rather than weight loss offers a terrific guideline. Most of us, no matter how hard we try, are liable to sneak in a few pounds over this festive season.
The trick is to plan ahead, while making the most of enjoying our friends and family. Try eating a healthy snack before heading out to holiday parties. This will help to curb your appetite, allowing you to skip high-calorie finger foods. At the dinner table, remind yourself to eat until you are satisfied rather than stuffed. Consider including some natural health supplements in your diet as well to make sure your body is getting everything it needs to stay healthy. Even if we manage to cut back on our consumption, the holidays are famous for reunions and “for old time’s sake.” To satisfy the urge for spirits, try drinking light beer or wine instead of mixed drinks. By all means, rotate the rounds by nursing a glass of water. Remember, alcohol is packed with calories and sugar, often making us even hungrier.
Host Your Own Party
What should you do if you’re on the other side of the bar as a host? Throw an ugly sweater party and make it healthy. It’s a way of treating and giving back to friends. Instead of fancy, high-calorie appetizers, offer the gang assorted veggies with low-fat dips. You can also serve lean meats, seafood, and whole grains. Eggnog is quite delicious and seasonal, but loaded with sugar and fat. An alternative is a punch bowl of fresh fruit and low-calorie juice mixed with sparkling water, a tasty sangria-like beverage without the sugar, fat, and calories.
In between the parties, meals, and shopping, most of us are guilty of skipping our normal gym routines, or not going at all. Exercise is a fantastic stress buster. It also gets the limbs and joints moving that will burn fat and dissolve any excess sugar from those buffet tables.
If you know you won’t make it to the gym, incorporate more walking into your daily routine. Park by the exit of the shopping mall instead of jockeying for the closest possible parking spot. It also helps with beating the traffic jams at closing time. Many office buildings have a campus-like setting or a public park nearby. Make it a point to get a 15-30 minute walk during lunch breaks when you can. Walking is terrific exercise. It may not shock the body like a full-blown workout, but your system will thank you for it. The main idea is to be active whenever you can. The disruption of routine will end, sending us all back to the gym. In the meantime, the less we carry and have to lose, the better. The idea of maintenance is to keep us ahead, not behind and catching up.
If you follow these steps, you’ll still have room for the times you want to splurge. After all, the holidays are known for special recipes, and no one wants to miss out on those. Instead of throwing caution to the wind and our diets out the window, the quest to eat healthy may be the best gift we can give ourselves. By making healthier choices, you’ll enjoy many more holidays to come.