Keeping your healthy routine during the holidays can be tough. Stressful shopping ventures, frenzied gatherings and countless food and drink temptations make it extra difficult to stay on track during the chaos of the holidays.
Here are some essential tips to help you deal with the tempting food, overwhelming stress and the urge to break routine.
Use Smaller Plates
If you’re hosting a holiday function, set out smaller plates. This will encourage yourself and your loved ones to eat smaller portions and not load up already oversized dishware with unhealthy food.
Eat Only What You Love
Indulgent food options are abundant during this time. It’s important to only eat the things you really love and leave the rest. Don’t waste a starch serving on a dry dinner roll when there is a delicious sweet potato casserole.
Make Easy Substitutes
Use delicious and healthy substitutes on your favorite holiday recipes to save calories and fuel your body. Make at least two side dishes and one dessert you are able to enjoy so you’re certain you don’t have to eat off plan. Trade in the mashed potatoes for healthy pureed cauliflower and choose pumpkin raw bites instead of the calorie-filled pumpkin pie. Check out our Holiday Recipe Survival Guide for more ideas!
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Skipping meals (mainly breakfast) to “save calories” on big feast days will only work to derail your weight-loss efforts. By skipping meals, you set yourself up to binge later in the day to make up for the calorie restriction. Not to mention how lethargic you will feel without a healthy breakfast to fuel your day!
Fill Up on Veggies
Be sure to fill up half your plate with fibrous veggies, and then add protein and finally unrefined starches. Eat the veggies before moving onto the rest of your plate and eat mindfully, setting your fork down after each bite. The fiber from the veggies will keep you fuller longer while the nutrients will energize your body.
Make a Mocktail
The best way to avoid holiday alcohol consumption is to make your own mocktail. Experiment with a few options and bring your favorites to the gathering. Who knows? Your family might just want to skip the wine too when they taste your healthy take on eggnog!
Shift your Mindset
Don’t let holiday stress get to you. Think of all the things you can do to alleviate this stress like making lists, recruiting the help of family members and taking time to relax and do things you enjoy. These practices will help you shift your mindset from stressful thinking to thankful thinking.
Let Go of Expectations
Whether the turkey burns, there are mashed potatoes on the floor or the dog has had his third helping of pie, keep in mind that nothing is perfect. Holidays are a time to be with the people you love and by setting expectations too high, you may cause unnecessary stress in your life.
Take time at holiday gatherings to catch up with all your friends and family. Don’t loiter around the food, instead stand in another room and focus on the conversation rather than the temptation in the kitchen.
When your friends and family see you looking thinner and declining an extra helping of sweet potatoes, the questions and comments may arrive. Most will be positive and you can take that opportunity to share your weight-loss journey. But also be prepared for adverse comments like, “why are you so skinny?” or “another helping won’t kill you!” In these instances, politely respond that you have never felt better after embracing a healthy lifestyle—let your loved ones know how much your health means to you.
Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
You may not be used to passing on your grandmother’s famous pecan pie or turning down a helping of your aunt’s cheesy potato casserole. But declining unhealthy options in a polite and loving manner is the key to staying on track. You might be afraid of hurting their feelings, but at the end of the day, standing up for your health is essential. Simply say, “Thank you but I’ll stick with my ________. It looks delicious and I appreciate you taking the time to make it, but I’m stuffed!”
Begin a Healthy Tradition
Start your own healthy family tradition on holidays like going for a walk or bike ride before or after dinner, running or walking a holiday 5K, playing a game in the yard or turning holiday shopping into a fun scavenger hunt to get the entire family moving.
Whatever your holiday plans, make a structured plan for staying on track and stick to it!