Happy, Healthy Holidays
The holidays are full of family, friends, great food, and great memories. But they aren’t always compatible with a healthy lifestyle. Once the holiday season rolls around, it’s easy to get a little lax on the healthy eating and exercise that we try and maintain. Festive parties and the added stress holidays can bring, can mean a hit to our overall well-being from November to New Year’s. But it doesn’t have to be this way. Fortunately, with a few quick tips, you can see it is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle during the busiest time of the year.
Find healthy alternatives to your favorite dishes: Eating healthy doesn’t mean you have to give up all your holiday favorites — all they need are a few modifications. There are lots healthier alternatives to many ingredients found in typical holiday dishes. Think about using less butter or subbing heavy cream for lower fat milk in your mashed potatoes. Substitute applesauce for oil in baked goods or plain yogurt for mayonnaise or sour cream. Small, simple swaps to reduce the added fat and calories in your holiday favorites.
It’s all about moderation & consistency: You’ve heard it before, but it really is true… moderation will be your saving grace during the holiday season. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying an indulgent, festive dinner — but you’ll want to make sure that your meals surrounding it are healthy and nutrient-dense. Don’t skip meals knowing you are going to be sitting down to a more indulgent meal. Try and maintain your usual diet, filled with lean protein, healthy fat and carbohydrates at regular intervals so you don’t sit down to a big meal starving. That’s a recipe for overeating. Sitting down to a meal not overly hungry will ensure you can enjoy the foods you love without overdoing it. Staying consistent with your healthy diet during this time also ensures that you can indulge at a festive occasion without derailing all your efforts.
Choose homemade instead of processed foods: We know homemade everything can be difficult when you have a lot going on, but it can also ensure that you’re eating much healthier. Canned, heavily processed and premade foods are typically full of excess salt and sugar that you can avoid by making the dishes yourself. Making the food from scratch will also make you much more aware of what you’re eating and when, giving you more control and awareness in the long run.
More vegetables please: Eating better is as simple as having more healthy choices available. Increase the number of vegetable dishes on the dinner table. When you are asked to bring a dish, try a new vegetable dish to ensure there is something healthy on the table you can enjoy and fill up on, leaving a little less room for those richer, more calorie dense favorites. Or offer to bring a vegetable-based appetizer. This will help everyone make sure they get an added boost of vegetables to help fill them up instead of an added scoop of stuffing.
Be mindful at meals: While we get excited for those family favorite dishes, a key tip to staying healthy over the holidays is to slow down during mealtime. Many studies show that eating slowly can give our stomachs enough time to send the hormonal signal to our brain telling us that we’re full, which will stop us from accidentally overeating. This can help us maintain better portion control as a result and help bring our attention to the real reason you are at the table enjoying the loved ones you are celebrating with.
Take a walk after dinner: An after-dinner walk is great for mind, body & spirit. First, you can get exercise at a time when you might not otherwise be exercising as frequently. It can also provide some quiet alone time to de-stress and aid your digestion all at once. All these factors combined are good for your physical and mental health and can contribute to weight loss and or weight maintenance during a time when we typically gain.
Yours In Health,
Nancy Wall, Personal Trainer and Nutrition Coach
Out Run Your Fork Personal Training in Westfield, NJ
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