9 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating
29 November 2015
Holidays are meant for us to unwind, relax and to enjoy life. That means its really ok to let loose a bit and indulge here and there. But sometimes we get carried away and take things overboard. It can be very difficult to get back on track when you have let go completely for an extended period of time. So instead of going full throttle, try to maintain a healthy and comfortable balance.
You really don’t have to be killing yourself to lose weight during the holidays. Even if you are mid-weight loss, use this time to maintain your current weight, and then focus on continuing to lose weight after the holidays. You may find that you lose weight without even trying because you are relaxed, and when we are relaxed our cortisol levels diminish (high cortisol levels is a key contributor to unwanted fat storage)
Plan time for exercise.
Exercise helps relieve holiday stress (if you are hosting Christmas parties) and prevent weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating. Try 10- or 15-minute brisk walks or runs twice a day. If you feel like keeping your calm, then opt for a light restorative yoga class. If you feel like your body needs a break, then ease up a little on your current exercise regime, but don’t stop altogether. Rather change it up, or opt for gentle exercise instead.
Don’t skip meals.
Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. That way you will be less tempted to over-indulge.
Balance your Portions
Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savour your favourite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy. Listen to your body so that you know when enough is enough.
Be careful with beverages.
Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating; non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar. Again there is nothing wrong with drinking a little alcohol, but be sure to do so in moderation. Opt for white spirits paired with soda water and lemon, to avoid excess sugars.
But if you do slip up at one meal go light on the next. It takes 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) above your normal/maintenance consumption to gain one pound. It is impossible to gain weight from one piece of pie!
Take the focus off food.
Turn candy and cookie making time into non-edible projects like making wreaths, dough art decorations or a gingerbread house. Plan group activities with family and friends that aren’t all about food. Try serving a holiday meal to the community, playing games or going on a walking tour of decorated homes. A holiday hike out in nature with a healthy packed picnic lunch can be just as much fun (if not more fun) than a day of sitting around and eating delicious food.
Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering.
If you know that the holiday gathering you are attending won’t have any healthy options, then simply bring your own delicious healthy meal to share. You may even find yourself influencing guests to enjoy healthy food too.
Practice Healthy Holiday Cooking.
Preparing your favourite dishes using smart ingredients will help promote healthy holiday eating. Incorporate some of these simple-cooking tips in traditional holiday recipes to make them healthier.
- Gravy — Refrigerate the gravy to harden fat. Skim the fat off. This will save a whopping 56 gm of fat per cup.
- Dressing —Use more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables. Add fruits such as cranberries or apples to sweeten. Moisten or flavour with low organic vegetable broth and unsweetened applesauce.
- Turkey – Enjoy delicious, roasted turkey breast without the skin
- Mashed Potato —cauliflower, milk,, garlic or garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese instead of potatoes.
- Desserts – use almond and coconut flour for cake bases, and add stevia and xylitol to sweeten, rather than sugar. Strawberries dipped in macadamia nut butter and coated with cacao nibs, then frozen, is a delicious and satisfying dessert treat! Try some of my Caralishious Coconut Milk Ice-Cream for a satisfying healthy treat instead of regular ice-cream
Enjoy the holidays, plan a time for activity, incorporate healthy recipes into your holiday meals, and don't restrict yourself from enjoying your favourite holiday foods. In the long run, its all about balance, and your mind and body will thank you.
Wishing you a happy and healthy festive season!
Yours in Health Always,