It's the most wonderful time of the year!
Gatherings, lights, decorations, people spreading cheer, presents, and...food. Lots of it.
How do you manage to not put on the extra 3-7 pounds during the holiday season that many people seem to add on without even realizing it? With all of the candy, doughnuts, festive cocktails, pies, cakes, eggnog, cookies, and all of the other treats that seem to be all around you - what's the best way to manage through it all?
You could try to stay at home and not participate in any of the gatherings or parties, but where's the fun in that? Instead, let's try to think through a few things that might be useful so you can enjoy the holiday season while not overindulging.
Here is a list of 5 things you could work on that can help:
1. Drink a full glass of water before every meal
There are obviously many benefits to drinking water, but doing this little trick (especially during the holidays) can really help you maintain better control over your eating during this festive time. It not only helps with better digestion, but can enhance the feeling of fullness which will cut down on how much you will eat. The best approach to this is drinking a full glass of water 30 minutes before any big meal.
2. Enjoy a "Mocktail" between cocktails
Many holiday parties will have plenty of alcohol available with some very festive cocktails, full of color and calorie packed alcohol. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying those cocktails, it's very easy to enjoy them a little too much...and the ability to make any wise food choices after that is almost zero. So, in between your favorite concoction, mix in a mocktail. Grab a club soda, mix in some lemon and lime, a splash of juice, and have a refreshing drink to space out the alcoholic versions. Check out some of these tasty mocktails to get some juices flowing before the next party starts: https://www.culinarynutrition.com/20-best-healthy-holiday-mocktails/
3. Eat your proteins first
This time of year there are more casseroles, gravy, and other incredibly tasty (but fatty) sides that will be filling up the rooms with an amazing cornucopia of appetizing smells and flavors that are simply impossible to resist. Before you dive into those delicacies that tease your taste buds and fill you with more calories than a Big-Mac, eat your proteins. The meaty proteins are highly satiating and will leave you feeling full faster. Still grab a taste of those sides, because you might not get another chance until next year...
4. Don't skip breakfast
There will always be that well-meaning person at work who brings the box of doughnuts, pastries, cookies, or other goodies to your meetings. They are some of the best at spreading that holiday cheer as well as spreading extra unwanted calories. When you skip out on breakfast, you increase your chances of hitting the doughnut binge eating lottery. Make time to eat a good breakfast in the morning with plenty of proteins, healthy carbs, and some good fats. This will help curb the urge to splurge on those tasty, but empty calories.
5. Stay active
The absolute best way to enjoy yourself and not be an annoying zealot at parties who doesn't partake in any or all of the festive food and drink is to make time to stay as active as possible.
After a big meal, go for a family walk.
After you eat during lunch break, take a walk with a coworker you've been meaning to catch up with.
Instead of the elevator, take the stairs.
Park your car a further than you normally do to get those extra steps in.
Wake up 30 minutes earlier to get in a workout.
Make it point to stand up and move around (at least) once per hour if you sit most of the day.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy the holidays without packing those extra pounds - these are just a few that seem to work really well. If you find this useful, share it with a friend, family member, or coworker.
Enjoy this festive holiday season - Merry Christmas!
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