Tips for Staying on Track this Holiday Season
The holiday season is here and everywhere we turn, we’re tempted by sweets and treats on a daily basis. On top of that, our schedules are booked with boozy parties and high-calorie holiday meals. So how do we deal? Here are some tips to keep your holiday eating in check while still enjoying the company of the ones you love and the delicious food that’s prepared.
1. Adjust your schedule and come out resilient
Even though things may be hectic, try to stick to your normal routine as much as possible but know that it may need to be adjusted. When it comes to outlining your monthly schedule include things like meal prep days, grocery shopping time, and exercise time. Put your normal routine on your calendar and if it conflicts with a party, event or travel, look to see when you can reschedule.
2. Don’t skimp on sleep
It is great to go out and have fun, but if it starts to hit your normal bedtime and you are still out, think about making an exit to catch some shut eye. What does lack of sleep have to do with weight and well-being? Well, actually a lot. Lack of sleep changes the way your hunger hormones are secreted in the body which can lead to mindless and increased eating. Leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full, decreases and ghrelin, the hormone that makes you feel hungry, increases. Since the holiday season is a time where an excess of food and sweets are around, it is important for you to have proper regulation of your hunger and it starts with making sure you are getting enough sleep.
3. Strategize your meal plan for the day
Piggybacking on the idea of scheduling out your month, also think about planning out your day. Review your day and recognize when you might have larger meals at the end of the day. This will allow you to adjust your meal plan for the day, having a lighter lunch if needed, or a larger snack before going to a cocktail party where the choices may be less desirable or filling.
4. Hydrate first
Make sure you are getting enough fluids this season. Aim for about half your body weight in ounces which will help prevent headaches, hangovers and allow you to recognize if you are actually just hungry and not thirsty.
5. Serve yourself a perfect plate
To ensure you have a balanced plate this holiday season, aim for half a plate of vegetables, a quarter of protein and a of quarter starch. To ensure you don’t go overboard on the portion sizes, use medium to small sized plates. Don’t forget to assess what type of vegetables are being served. If the brussel sprouts are filled with cream sauce, have a small spoonful, but if they have some fresh green beans or salad, choose that for half your plate. This ensures fewer calories and more fibre to keep you full.
6. Be sure to have protein at your meals and snacks
Whether you are at a holiday cocktail party or Christmas dinner, always aim to have a lean source of protein added to your plate. Not only do lean proteins help promote satiety, but they have a higher thermal effect of food. This means you also burn calories to digest it. Opt for lean turkey, chicken, seafood and tofu.
7. Go easy on the dressings
An easy way to rack up the calories is topping your food with high fat or high sugar dressings and toppings. Make sure to drizzle your food and don’t drown it.
8. Pace yourself and eat mindfully
To ensure you eat the right amount and savor it, think about some of these mindful eating techniques. First, always be sure to sit down while you eat, if possible. This allows you to take smaller bites, chew your food slowly and enjoy the experience. Be sure to notice the taste, texture and smell of the food with each bite. Hopefully, by the end of your meal, you will feel satisfied with just one plate of food and not rush for a second.
9. Make activities a priority with friends and family
When hanging out with friends and family this season, try to schedule activities, games, and workouts to offset the drinking and feasting. Not only will you burn calories, but you’ll enjoy some good old-fashioned bonding in the process.
10. Be the good example
Anywhere you visit this holiday season, most likely your family or friends will ask for you to bring a drink or dish to the party. If you feel that there may be way too many high-calorie foods and sides, be a good role model and make something healthy yet tasty. This could be as simple as a fresh veggie or fruit platter!