The holiday season is upon us. That means dinners, parties, and celebrations. We’re here to tell you that you can still enjoy the holiday celebrations with these 5 tips to balanced eating during the holidays. These tips will allow you to still enjoy the season, and even your favorite treats, while staying balanced and on track with your goals.
Scan the spread and grab a plate
You may easily find yourself endlessly picking off the appetizer table or overindulging to the point of feeling stuffed at dinner. Before picking up a plate, scan the offerings and keep an eye out for vegetables. Always grab a plate: especially for appetizers. Focus first on filling half of your plate with vegetables like seasonal salads, roasted vegetables or vegetables from a snack platter. No food has to be “off limits” during the holidays. Find more balance while enjoying your favorite seasonal dishes by serving yourself more vegetables and always including a protein.
Start keeping a food journal
It is healthy to enjoy foods you do not usually eat during the holidays. Leave any guilt at the door. One rich meal or a serving (or two) of pie does not equate to a total derailing from your health goals. Stay accountable by keeping a food journal. Research shows people who keep food journals are more likely to maintain long-term success. Keep a handwritten notebook or use an app; journaling serves as a reminder to get back on track with your typical way of eating. Give yourself permission to enjoy the celebration, and use your journal to get back on track with balanced eating.
Enjoy the moment and practice mindful eating
The holidays come around once a year. The company, celebration and nostalgic foods of the season are to be savored. By slowing down and increasing your awareness to the smell, taste and textures of the foods you eat, you can counter overindulgence and mindfully enjoy the holidays. Begin cultivating a mindful way of thinking by focusing on what you are eating. How does it taste? How was it prepared? Are you chewing at least 10-15 times? Have you put your fork down to socialize? While it may seem like something you overhear parents telling their children, when let go of your fork, you are reminded to slow down, chew your food, enjoy the present moment and converse with family and friends.
Don’t go to the party hungry
With a diet mentality, it is easy to think of restricting what you eat prior to an indulgent event. Restricting what you eat hours before a big meal tends to backfire. Low blood sugar increases cortisol, which leaves you craving sugar, salt and fat. In addition, you are left ravenous and are likely to eat a larger quantity of food in a shorter period of time. Overeating after fasting is a result of your body’s instinctual drive to eat. Curb this tendency by focusing on eating small, balanced meals. Always include protein and fiber, which keep you full and satisfied. Starting your day with a protein-rich breakfast has been shown to decrease over eating throughout the rest of the day. Balanced breakfast ideas are: eggs and whole wheat toast, Greek yogurt and berries or a smoothie with protein.
Aim to move more throughout the day. Many obligations arise during the holidays, but consistently making movement a priority will help you feel more balanced. Sign up in advance for your favorite workout classes and add them to your calendar. If you are out of town, find local hikes or walk around the area you are visiting for an hour. If you have a Smartphone or activity tracker, aim to hit 10k to 15k steps per day.
Are you interested in working with a nutrition expert during the holiday season? For individualized nutrition coaching, contact us for a free 15-minute consultation, send us an email, or reach us on Facebook or Instagram.
This post was written by Madeleine Holloway.
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