5 Ways To Eat Healthy (And Still Be Happy!) Through The Holidays
For children, the holidays mean Santa, Pilgrims and presents. For us, it’s gravy, sweet potatoes and pie. The New England Journal of Medicine has shown that a majority of us pack on a few extra pounds during the holidays. Does that mean unhealthy holiday eating habits are inevitable? Are you destined for a lifetime of making New Year’s resolutions to get your summer body back? No and no!
Truth is, you can still eat healthy through the holidays without swearing off eggnog or your Aunt Dot’s rhubarb pie. Making a few small changes to your routine might be all it takes to see big results.
Ready to have your cake and eat it too? Here are our top five healthy tips to get you through the holidays:
1. Fill Up with the Healthy Stuff
Meet your two best friends this season: fruits and vegetables. Not only do these nutrition-rich foods provide the greatest number of essential vitamins for the least amount of calories, they are also very filling. So those grapes and carrots you snack on before dinner leave less room for buttered rolls and brownies. Remember, our goal is not to eliminate the bad stuff, it’s to eat less of it. Fill up on fruits and veggies before big meals and mission accomplished.
2. Portions, Portions, Portions
There’s a reason almost every healthy eating article discusses portion control. It’s huge – or in this case, small. Choosing smaller portions can be challenging, especially when tempted with an inviting spread straight out of a Norman Rockwell painting. To combat this, try eating on smaller plates and serving in smaller bowls. It may sound silly, but it works. Also, make a holiday season rule that you won’t go back for second helpings. And drink plenty of water throughout the day – it helps make small portions fill up a big appetite.
3. Go Easy on the Sweets
Cookies from the neighbors, chocolate bark from the church bazaar…sweets come at you every which way during the holidays. The key to survival is making your sweet tooth selective. Crazy for chocolate? Then pass on the oatmeal raisin cookies. Got a thing for Snickerdoodles? Leave the pie alone. Be mindful of your selections. Eat only the sweets you absolutely love, and try to share each piece with your spouse or friend.
4. Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Yes, liquid calories count just as much as the other kind. As much as we may enjoy imbibing, holiday drinks can be a real hindrance when it comes to health and wellness. Just one serving of booze can contain 150 calories. And that’s before adding high-calorie sugary mixers. To drink smarter during the holidays, try drinking water between each alcoholic drink. Always use low-calorie mixers like soda water or diet cranberry juice. And most importantly: practice moderation. Making healthy choices gets less and less easy with each drink.
5. There’s No Way Around It: Exercise
The holidays may be a time to take it easy, but you still need to keep active. No one expects you to be training for a marathon. Try simply taking a walk to check out the neighborhood decorations after each big meal. Too much sitting is bad for your heart, so even getting up and moving around for five minutes every hour can help reduce the risk of diabetes and heart disease. Every calorie you take in is one you have to burn off, so the more you eat, the more you have to exercise. Keep that in mind when eyeing that last piece of cake.
You got this!
There’s a ton of other helpful hints out there to help you avoid adding extra pounds this season. Study them and develop a mental game plan. Remember: you are in complete control of what you eat. Don’t run and hide from your favorite foods. Just eat a little smarter. With this list as your guide you’ll make it through the holidays happy, healthy – AND in good shape to take on the new year.
Disclaimer: This content is for informational purposes only and it is not meant to be relied on as medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Consult your physician before starting any exercise or dietary program or taking any other action respecting your health. In case of a medical emergency, call 911.