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It’s that time of year again. The holidays are a time for celebration, but they can also be a time to get off track with your diet. There’s more than one way to celebrate without sacrificing your health goals and we want to help you get through the holiday season without feeling guilty about what you ate or not being able to enjoy yourself because of your health goals.
Whether it’s making healthy choices at parties and dinners, packing food so you don’t have to stop at an iffy restaurant, reading labels at the grocery store, or tackling a holiday party prep-and-prepare extravaganza, in a series of posts, we’re sharing our best tips on how to stay on track during the holidays!
Bring on the tips!
Make a calendar
Make a calendar that includes holidays, parties, and other occasions that will tempt you or stress you. Prioritize those events and plan how you can make them as healthy as possible for you. Seeing them laid out on the calendar will enable you to plan your workouts and meals to help you balance any holiday treats you might indulge in.
Pick your most important events, and agree with yourself that you will only eat a small amount of something. Make it a treat rather than an everyday item. You can still enjoy whatever it is, but you don’t have to go overboard with it!
Decide in Advance
Decide in advance how you’ll handle each event. Maybe plan to eat a snack beforehand, or only share a dessert with your partner. Anticipating the situation will make it easier to handle when you’re there. Worst-case scenario: Bring your own healthy dish or snack from home, so that if there’s nothing available to eat that’s good for you, at least you’ll have something.
If there are temptations at parties or holiday dinners, keep in mind that you don’t have to eat anything. You can have a couple of bites, or just enjoy being with your friends and family.
Don’t let temptation get the best of you! A little bit is okay, but don’t allow yourself to be a glutton over it! Indulge moderately, instead of excessively.
Plan your workouts
Include on that calendar your workout plans – what you’re doing each day, and who you can turn to for extra accountability. Your trainer, workout buddy, even an app!
If you know you are likely to consume more calories, you can plan an extra workout or two for the week. Take advantage of opportunities that arise (snow days, holiday travel) to be more active throughout the holidays with walks, hikes, or outdoor recreation. Create a list of suggestions on your calendar so you are ready when the time comes.
Pack healthy food
If you’re going on a long drive, pack healthy food so you don’t have to stop at an iffy restaurant or – gasp! – a fast-food drive-through. Some examples are trail mix, yogurt, apples, whole-grain crackers, and hummus. And again, consider bringing your own nutritious dish or snack from home if going to a gathering, so you’ll at least have something if there isn’t anything suitable for you to eat.
Read the labels
Read the labels at the grocery store. It’s shocking how much sugar and sodium are found in packaged foods, including some things we only buy in November and December. So, search for the better options.
Make Smart Choices
Remember, you do not have to ruin your health goals because of the holiday season. It is simply one time of year where healthy eating usually takes a back seat to indulgence. While food is great, the holidays are about celebrating our blessings, which include the ability to make smart choices and commit to our health.
By preparing in advance and having realistic expectations about what you can eat, you can avoid letting those unhealthy choices snowball into a major holiday weight gain. So, enjoy moderately and think of a major holiday as just ONE SINGLE DAY on the calendar, not an excuse to give up hope or two solid months!
Make the holidays as healthy as possible for you!
Stay tuned for next week for more Tips to Stay on Track During the Holidays…