The holidays are upon us, which can mean one of two things: Either it's a magical time of year, or you are utterly stressed out by the nibbles and possible weight gain that can come along with it.
Staying on track with your training and nutrition is always a chore, but during the holidaysit can be downright stressful. With so many celebrations around you, the mindless grazing and drinks can quickly add up to a number on the scale you don’t want to see. With a little planning, there's no need to derail your progress while celebrating the season.
Holiday Tip 1: Bring A Healthy Dish!
Not sure what options will be at your upcoming gathering? Eat a small, healthy meal before you head out to help satisfy your hunger and discourage mindless grazing. Having some food in your stomach also means you won't get as tipsy if you're planning to drink.
Another good rule of thumb is to prepare a healthy dish to share. At least you know there will be one thing that isn't off limits to you, and you may turn others on to a new, healthier recipe they haven't tried.
Holiday Tip 2: Stay In Control And Just Say No
If your lifestyle and healthy eating habits differ from that of your host or other guests, you are under no obligation to eat anything that doesn't fit your current nutrition.
Don’t be worried you’ll offend someone if you don't at least try their dish, but your loved ones support your choices and realize it's nothing against them or their cooking. If you take a moment to explain and let them know you're just happy to be there celebrating with them. The holidays are about celebrating family and friends not just a fancy side dish.
Holiday Tip 3: Hydrate
One of the best ways to avoid caving to holiday cravings and maintain a healthy weight any time of year is to drink plenty of water. When we are dehydrated, we can feel tired, hungry, and tend to have lower will power. Plus, with temperatures dropping and days growing shorter, it's tough to remember to drink as much water as you would on a hot day. To feel your best so you can enjoy and celebrate the season, make sure you're getting enough water throughout the day, especially leading up to a night out. Your ability to bounce back the next morning because of staying hydrated before your holiday party is your body's way of thanking you!
Holiday Tip 4: Sip Lower-Calorie Cocktails
Did you know a typical margarita will set you back roughly 500 calories or more, making it an ideal choice for a sugar spike and a boatload of empty calories? Not to mention the dreaded hangover that may follow a night of sweet, sugary drinks.
A good go-to alcoholic drink is typically a vodka, diet soda, lime, which contains far fewer calories than sugary sodas or mixers. Not a drinker? Avoid the equally sugary fruit punch and sip on sparkling water with lime or lemon to maintain that festive feel!
Holiday Tip 5: Prioritize food groups (Protein and veggies)
Chips and dip are a classic party combo with double the chances for healthy substitutions. Replace the high-calorie chips with sliced raw veggies or baked zucchini chips and substitute Greek yogurt as a healthier alternative to the mayo and sour cream-based dips. You'll get all the same wonderful flavors at a fraction of the calories!
Low starch vegetables and protein can come from wherever you want. Ham, meatballs, and turkey are all fine sources of protein on the holidays. Christmas salads, roasted brussels sprouts, and spaghetti squash are great sources of low starch vegetables. Why not sauteed green beans with onion and mushrooms instead of its creamier, fat laden alter ego, green bean casserole
Holiday Tip 6: Let Go of Guilt!
If you do slip up and overindulge this season, it's OK! Letting loose every once in a while and consuming a bit more than you'd like is not only normal, but also mentally healthier for you in the long run.
Don’t beat yourself up if you have one too many meatballs or accidentally drink a few too much eggnog. Acknowledge it and move on! Obsessing over an occasional slip up won't change it, so just move forward.
What to do the next day? Do NOT go depriving yourself and trying to “punish” yourself for being normal. Start back on your normal nutrition and fitness routine. You may find that your body benefitted from you enjoying yourself and lowering your stress.
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