Tis the season! With the holidays in full swing, it’s surely a time to celebrate. Cocktail gatherings and cozy dinner parties with family and friends are quickly filling up our calendars. Yet in spite of all of the exciting merriment at this festive time of year, many of us become anxious about sticking to healthy habits. Tempting treats and plentiful opportunities to indulge run rampant during this season, so it’s not necessarily a time for restrictive diets — it’s important to let yourself live a little, without letting go completely! Here are some savvy tricks and tips to help you stay on track while still enjoying the holidays:
1. Whatever you do, do not skip meals: Be careful not to restrict your eating during the day in order to preemptively compensate for a night of indulging. This approach can actually backfire because it can lead to overeating later. Rather than skipping meals, stick to your regular routine to maintain satiety (i.e. don’t let yourself go hungry)!
2. Munch on a healthy snack: Make sure you’re not starving when you head out for the evening. Eat a serving of fruit, vegetables and/or nuts before you leave the house to stave off the hunger. Healthy snacking before a cocktail party can prevent overeating party food that, more often than not, is calorically dense.
3. Pick a small plate. Whether it’s a buffet-style dinner party or a cocktail party with small bites, a small plate can help you visualize what you are actually consuming. Our minds can play useful tricks on us: small plates make you think you are eating more than you’re actually eating. Furthermore, take it easy on the grazing.
4. Three words: drink in moderation. Alcohol, simply put, is empty calories. Seasonal cocktails, like eggnog and mulled cider, have a lot of added sugar (and fat, in some cases) on top of the alcohol itself. If wine is your drink of choice, ask for a wine spritzer. And one more tip: pace yourself! Drink slowly, and remember to drink water throughout the evening to stay adequately hydrated.
5. Be selective with your calories. Holiday get togethers present an opportunity to indulge in a large variety of decadent hors d’oeuvres and delicious desserts. Don’t necessarily take all that you’re offered! Indulge in what actually appeals to you.
6. Plan in advance. A give-and-take approach can often be useful — if you expect you’ll want to enjoy dessert at a party, for instance, cut back on sweets throughout the day. But remember the first tip — don’t skip or over-restrict!
7. Don’t forget to be active. Even though the weather may be cold and all we really feel like doing is relaxing indoors, don’t let your exercise routine fall by the wayside. Head outside for a brisk walk, or hop on a bicycle. Keep up your routine and avoid the overwhelming desire to be constantly sedentary.
8. Relish in the holidays. Do not forget to enjoy the season. Don’t feel guilty about celebrating this special time of year and the joy it brings. Slowly savor each bite and listen to your body when it tells you you’re full!
More Tips for the Holidays:
Note: PLEASE consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or medications. The material on this site is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.