7 IDEAS FOR HEALTHY HOLIDAY EATING
It’s that time of year again.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Chanukah, Solstice, Kwanzaa, or National Cotton Candy Day, (December 7) chances are this is a tough time of year for you to have a good relationship with food.
Candy materializes on our desks at work.
We’re invited to more parties than the rest of the year combined.
We believe we need to eat, drink and be merry – or just hide and drown our sorrows in a box of Lindt chocolate.
We feel wracked with guilt over what we just put in our bodies.
Nevermind the emotions that come with seeing family and friends that we may not see 11 months of the year.
I can’t help you with your family.
But here are a few tips to keep up your healthy eating momentum – without feeling like you’ve deprived yourself of your favourite things.
7) Put Away the Scale.
…and the measuring tape. I mean it. From now until January 2, forget about the numbers. Chances are you won’t lose any weight this month. And gaining a pound or two is not a big deal. Ten or twenty pounds is. But the best way to keep the weight off isn’t by obsessing over the numbers and wracking yourself with guilt. Let it go.
6) Plan your Snacks.
Carry fresh fruit, vegetables, and high-protein/low sugar snacks with you. That way if you feel the urge to nibble, you have a fallback. You can’t really over-indulge on carrot sticks.
5) Eat Before You Go.
When you’re going to an event where you know that appetizers and other high-fat foods will be abundant, do yourself a favour and eat a lean and healthy protein-laden meal before you head out the door. That way you can try a bit of everything – but you’ll be less likely to overeat since you will already feel full.
4) Skip the Mix.
The average Canadian drinks 41% more alcohol in December than in any other month of the year. I’m not going to write a blog about cutting back on booze (that’s a whole other topic) but consider what you’re drinking with the alcohol. On average, a glass of wine, a can of beer or cocktail contains 150 calories – almost exclusively carbohydrates. That means that if you have 2 drinks a day, you’re taking in a whopping 2100 extra calories a week – enough for the 8th day! Instead, switch to hard liquor with water, club soda, or diet pop. You’ll save about 75 calories per drink – keeping your alcoholic calories roughly the same as what they were in November. Just don’t use this as an excuse to binge – and always have a safe ride home.
3) Cover Your Plate.
When you do get to the big meals, there are ways to balance this too. Filling your plate will meats (turkey, ham) or vegan proteins, and coloured vegetables will leave you less room for things like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and bread. If you want to indulge, go for your favorites. Skip the things that don’t excite you. Finally, take time to savour your favorite foods – don’t rush through them. You will enjoy them more if you don’t stuff yourself.
2) Keep the Candy Out of the House.
One of the easiest ways to avoid eating the box of chocolates is to keep it out of the house. Instead of candy, put out bowls of nuts, popcorn, or fruit for when guests come by. Believe me, your guests will be grateful for the healthy options too!
1) Remember Balance.
If you have a big event where you know you will want to indulge, simply eat lightly for the rest of the day. Gaining one pound means adding 500 calories/day to your diet – so as long as you keep your daily intake similar, you can enjoy the occasional treat meal.
Enjoy the Holidays – Without the Guilt