We all know eating healthy over the holidays is especially hard. Holiday parties with snack foods, more desserts, heavier meals because of the cold, and a non-stop flow of drinks that add double the calories. While it is hard to stay on track, it is not impossible! Any healthy diet should include balance, allowing yourself indulgences here and there.
Here are some tips to help you stay on track, while still enjoying yourself!
1. Portion Control
While eating a cupcake isn’t as healthy as eating a carrot, it won’t make the biggest difference if it’s an exception. Cut half so you aren’t tempted to eat the whole thing. Or if you have the cupcake, pass on the cheesy appetizer. OR choose the mini cupcakes (they’re my favorite!). It’s about balance, and largely, not eating too much. I love my cocktails and wine, so I’m usually not willing to give those up. Instead, I tend to cut back on desserts and dairy. Just find the balance that works for you!
2. Keep Exercising (or start!)
The shorter days make it harder to work out in the morning while it’s still dark, and harder to work out at night when it’s already dark. The cold doesn’t help either! Try to plan your workouts ahead of time, if you can wake up, get it out of the way in the morning, and don’t hold yourself to being perfect. You don’t have to workout every day. Try to get in 3-4 days a week and if you can’t even do that, always remember that something is better than nothing! 10 minutes is better than 0!
3. Eat the Healthy Options First
When at a dinner, party, or gathering, try to go for the healthy food options first. Usually your eyes are much larger than your stomach. So if you fill up on the salad, veggie and lean options, you might not be hungry for the other ones! And if you are, a small bite might do the trick to curb that craving. There are studies that show we try to fill our plates up when serving ourselves food, so choose the smaller plates or fill that plate up with the good-for-you stuff first. And maybe sneak a couple of your favorite guilt foods for a few bites so you’re not missing out. I’ll repeat myself a million times saying this, but it’s all about balance!
4. Keep Out Your Skinny Jeans
It sounds silly, but in the winter we tend to hide under our clothes. When in the summer we have to wear less because of the heat, so we focus more on our bodies and what we eat. Keep those skinny jeans out, tight fitted shirts etc, and wear them at least 1-2 times a week to keep check on if you’re staying in your normal range. If you aren’t fitting into the clothes you fit into last month, it’s a hint that you need to cut back. This is one of the best ways to stay on top of if you’re doing okay without obsessing over stepping on the scale!
5. Eat Breakfast
This may sound counterproductive, but breakfast will help curb your appetite so you’re eating less! Don’t take advantage of this advice, though, and eat cinnamon rolls, sugary cereal, or pancakes for breakfast. That is not what I mean and won’t help you at all. Eat a high protein, fiber breakfast to help control your hunger and cravings throughout the day. Whether it’s eggs, protein shake, fruit, oatmeal, yogurt, etc. I used to not eat breakfast, and starting to eat it made the world of difference for me. I wasn’t ravenously hungry at lunch anymore, and I actually look forward more to breakfast than lunch now! And surprise – I don’t like cooking in the morning. I actually do Beach Body’s Shakeology or hard boiled eggs and maybe some fruit or almond milk. That gives me the energy I need for work and holds me over and even controls my hunger for the next meals.
6. Keep the Healthy Options in Site – Hide the Bad Ones
Whether it’s in your home or at your office, don’t keep the junk food or sweets in plain site. Instead, put them behind the cabinets and have a fruit bowl, a jar of almonds, some sparkling water in your fridge. A lot of the times we reach for what is easiest, so make the mindless snacking less damaging by the go to food and drinks being the healthy options.
7. Limit the Dairy and Meat Intake
This doesn’t mean don’t eat dairy or meat at all, but calories and fat in diary and meat add up a LOT. So when you’re choosing what appetizers to eat, snacks to munch on, or what to put on your plate for the main meal, try to limit any dairy or meat options to as little as you can. Ever wonder why vegetarians or vegans are so skinny? They have to cut all that fat out and when they want chicken fingers, meatballs or queso for a snack, they are forced to go to carrots in hummus (which in the long run, your body will thank you!). So try that carrot or even cucumber with hummus, you might actually like it! (Note: lean healthy meats like chicken and fish are great choices. With these, just keep in mind portion control).
8. Morning Energy Boost
To get a quick pick me up in the morning, before you shower, do pushups/jumping jacks/crunches etc until you feel fatigue coming on. Don’t tire yourself out and make this a full blown workout, but just this burst to get your blood flowing will be like a shot of energy for your morning, equivalent to a cup of coffee. On top of that, it will help boost your metabolism early on in the day!
9. Drink Water, LOTS OF IT
Sounds like a broken record, but there’s a reason everyone says it. Drink water when you wake up, before you go to bed, throughout the day. It will help you burn calories, curb your cravings and control your appetite. Studies show that most of the time when you are hungry, you are actually thirsty. So when you get those hunger pains, drink some water, wait, and see if you’re still hungry. If so, get something to eat! If not, you just saved some unnecessary calories. Also, easy way to mindlessly stay hydrated – buy a water bottle and keep it with you throughout your day. You won’t even mean to be healthy, but 100 emails later you’re 2 water bottles down!
10. Meal Prep
This right here is the most important part of any routine, any diet, any BUDGET. I mean, who doesn’t like to save money while also staying fit and healthy? Take one day out of your week, preferably a Sunday, and precook all of your breakfast (hard boiled eggs FTW) and package all your lunches. This allows you to save SOOO much money and keeps you on track for a healthy body. Plus, you get to sleep in those extra fifteen minutes you would have had to spend making breakfast and lunch on your way out the door.
What do you do to stay healthy during the Holiday?