Can you watch what you eat during the holiday season and still enjoy all your favorite foods? Of course! Here are some of my favorite tips for keeping it healthy during the holiday season, but also realistically enjoying the fun and fellowship that this time of the year has to offer.
1) If you love it – savor it; like it – then limit it; dislike it – avoid it. No point on filling up with tasteless storebought Christmas cupcakes when you know that you’ll be savoring Grandma’s amazing pecan pie in a couple days.
2) Pre-party with veggies; eating a salad with light dressing or crunching on carrot sticks on your way to a party with high-fat hors doeuvres will help you limit it to the really good stuff.
3) Drink water. One glass of wine is 150 calories. A mixed drink at a restaurant can cost you around 500 calories. Sip on water or tea (no sugar added) instead of wasting calories on beverages.
4) Use smaller plates. This a great trick for portion control, especially in a buffet. By serving dinner on salad plates, your eyes tell your stomach that you have eaten a full meal…even if it was half the size.
5) Stock up on salad. Bringing a dish to a holiday get-together? Offer to bring salad and dressing on the side. Then you’ll know you have at least one healthy option, and if you cover one third of your plate with salad you’ll be guaranteed a lighter meal.
6) Or bring fruit. If you are going to a dessert party, a tray of prettily cut and garnished fruit is a fun, light way to diversify the options.
7) Trim your portions. Can’t decide between pumpkin and pecan pie? Split a slice of each with a friend. Or just take half a slice, because it’s guaranteed someone behind you is thinking the same thing!
8) Sleep. Yes, that’s right. If you are underslept you are much more likely to overeat, so don’t get so busy with the holiday fun that you become too tired to get your beauty ZZzzzs.
9) Exercise. Morning, noon, night, or whenever you can squeeze it in! Even if you are just able to take the stairs or do a 10-minute walk on your lunch break, the extra activity will help compensate for some of those extra calories.
10) Socialize. If the food table is calling your name too loudly, go to the opposite side of the room with a glass of water and start up a conversation with a stranger. If you are fully focused on the other person, they will appreciate a good listener, you may make a friend, and your appetite will fade away.