15 Ways to Stay on Track with your Nutrition During this Holiday Season
By Barbara Trammell
The holidays can be a challenging time when it comes to our nutrition. Don't let a few parties ruin your fitness goals. You can still enjoy the holidays AND honor the healthy lifestyle you have committed to. Check out these tips!
1. Remember your goals/“Why” - Set an intention for how you would like to feel after a holiday party or dinner. Write down your goals and post it on your bathroom mirror to remind you.
2. Become the host - If you can, host your own party and take the opportunity to introduce your guests to healthy foods you’ve been enjoying.
3. Don’t deviate from the norm - If you know you’re going to a party, don’t skip meals to save calories or carbs. Protein and fat help cut cravings for sugar and processed carbs. Keep your hunger in check and don’t allow yourself to get too hungry. Make sure to eat throughout the day and choose better appetite control foods like: high fiber foods, lean proteins and healthy fats.
4. Start your holiday meal with smart food choices - Begin with soup, salad, not bread - avoid heavy appetizers and other unhealthy choices. Look for veggie board.
5. Limit Alcohol - Alcohol reduces your inhibitions and lead to bad choices. For every glass of alcohol, drink a full glass of water. Stick to low calorie cocktails.
6. Plan Ahead - If you’re going to a party, offer to bring an appetizer or dish. If you’re traveling, keep healthy snacks on hand (protein bars, jerky, nuts, etc.). If you’re going to a restaurant, go to their website and check out the menu ahead of time.
6. Stay active and people-focused rather than entirely dwelling on food - Park at the far end of the parking lot to the event, join in on a group game or if with family, talk to the kids for a while. Offering to help clean up keeps you busy and helps out the host, find someone you connect with and engage in a meaningful conversation. All of this will help keep your mind off of desserts or drinking.
7. Practice mindfulness - take five deep breaths before your meal and chew every bite slowly. Really focus and appreciate the flavors, color and smells of the food you’re eating. Put your fork down between bites and half-way through your meal take a pause and ask yourself if you’re still hungry or are comfortable.
8. Respond to pushers politely - You might have a food pusher or friend ask why you’re not indulging at a party. Just reply you’re here for the people, not the food.
9. Don’t beat yourself up - If you do slip up, leave the guilt behind. Simply make a U-turn and reset.
10. Use a support system - Enlist a buddy (family, friend, co-worker). Whether they’re following the same healthy plan or not - having someone your side will without a doubt help you stay on track.
12 Load of up Veggies at a buffet.
13. Prioritize your favorites - We all have our favorite treats. Make your calories worth it and not overdo it. Be strategic about your “cheat meals”.....allow yourself to taste your favorite foods and cut out the calories of foods you care less about.
14. Track your Calories and Macros - This will help keep you on track and let friends check in with you to cheer you on.
15. Keep stress in check - the holidays are a stressful time. Be sure to take time for yourself: exercise, get enough sleep, and stick as close as you can to your diet routine.