The holiday season is around the corner y’all! I love this time of year because there are so many fun parties, get-togethers and festive events to attend. I believe it’s important, though, to stay on your usual stay-fit plan to get you through the season with healthy eating habits. With my healthy holiday eating tips, you will go into this season with confidence and not get derailed in the midst of festive cheer. Here are my tips to help keep you slim and looking and feeling your best from party to party.
Don’t go to the party hungry
I am sure you have heard the advice of not going to the grocery store hungry, right?? Well, the same applies to a party. Rule #1, It’s never good to go to any place hungry, much less to a party. If you think you are doing well showing up to a party on an empty stomach, so that you can happily devour everything in sight, think again. Over-indulgence is like putting too many heavy logs on the fire, which wreaks havoc on your metabolism and makes you less efficient at burning all those extra calories. This is why you may see your weight creeping up during the holidays. Instead, consider having a small, healthy snack that combines both fiber and protein to keep you feeling full rather than going to a party completely ravenous. You will be in much better control and not so tempted to grab every appetizer passing by.
Good pre-party snack ideas include an apple with a handful of almonds, a high fiber tortilla with diced turkey, or Greek yogurt and blueberries.
Be selective and apply the 3 bite rule
I don’t normally crave or eat too many sweets, but the holidays bring out my sugar tooth. I know I shouldn’t eat a whole dessert, so in this situation, I apply this rule: 3 bites, and 3 bites only, of your favorite dessert. Studies show that people rate the first and last bites as the best. Three bites give you a first, middle, and last, which is all you need to appreciate a dessert completely. This rule allows you to indulge while saving you a ton of calories, but it doesn’t work if you have three bites of every dessert, so be selective!
Sneak in exercise whenever you can during the holidays
If my social calendar gets really busy and I can’t fit in my usual gym workout, I don’t cancel working out completely. I still try to do some form of exercise, whether it’s cardio, strength training, resistance, or stretching for at least 30 minutes per day. I try to walk as much as I can and take the stairs whenever possible. I also try to fit in mini workouts consisting of squats, lunges, push-ups and planks to build lean muscle and to keep my metabolism revved up. It’s also handy if you have a bike you can ride around your neighborhood. Or ride a stationary bike or an elliptical machine in your own home to avoid the cold winter weather.
If you know you are going to give into temptations, you can stay on track through exercise and healthy choices elsewhere. Remember, by balancing your intake along with exercise, you’ll be able to take part in the holiday meal tradition, eat well, and be happy without feeling guilty.
Minimize the high calorie drinks, and keep them light
If you find yourself drinking too much during holiday parties, you may want to pay attention to what you are drinking because special holiday drinks are not always waistline-friendly. For example, a glass of eggnog has over 300 calories, which is equivalent to eating a bowl of ice cream. So, if you drink two or three eggnogs, you are loading up on plenty of extra calories from sugar and fat. As an alternative, plan ahead of time to have just a little toast of eggnog to get into the holiday spirit, then switch to a sparkling wine or spirits like vodka, gin or tequila on the rocks with lemon or lime to save yourself some calories. I suggest that my clients set an alcohol budget prior to a party. For instance, if you normally drink four drinks, try to limit your alcohol consumption to two. A good, helpful tip is to alternate between an alcoholic beverage and a glass of water, which will help you drink at a slower pace, stay hydrated, and minimize a hangover.
Avoid mindless eating
No matter what function or party you attend, it’s best to serve yourself a plate rather than standing around the table carelessly nibbling on finger foods, which leads to mindless eating. Keep the plate method in mind, which means you fill about half your plate with non starchy, fiber-rich vegetables and salad and the other side of the plate with a lean protein source like chicken breast or fish. Limit starchy carbohydrates to about 2 Tbs.
Follow my plan and you will feel fit and trim throughout the holiday season!