Here are 10 ways you can stay healthy and maintain and well-balanced nutrition and workout plan over the holidays. The goal is to still enjoy and indulge over the holidays, but while doing it all in moderation. Enjoy!
- Be realistic. Don’t try to lose pounds during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight. The average American will gain 8 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years! If I told you to make it a goal to just maintain through the holidays, you would do better than 99.9% of all of us!
- Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in exercise can help partially offset increased holiday eating. Try 10- or 15-minute brisk walks twice a day. In addition, a short (45 min – 1hr) resistance training workout can burn up to 500 calories!
- Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge. If you go to a holiday party starving, you will crave more sweets and treats and things you wouldn’t normally indulge in, and will end up overeating.
- Survey party buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and skip your least favorite. Include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced. Try to only pick 2 sides, not every side that is offered. This is where we can run into trouble – eating everything at the buffet.
- Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Savor your favorite holiday treats while eating small portions. Sit down, get comfortable, and enjoy. Try to eat that holiday treat slowly, you may find you won’t be able to finish it all!
- Be careful with beverages. Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating; non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar. Try sticking with water, or sparkling water. This will leave you to eat all those calories in the food you love and not waste them in empty alcoholic calories, or sugar calories in a fruity drink or a soda
- If you overeat at one meal go light on the next. It takes 500 calories per day (or 3,500 calories per week) above your normal/maintenance consumption to gain one pound. It is impossible to gain weight from one piece of pie, so just enjoy it and know it is your choice to have a little splurge, and it won’t kill you!
- Take the focus off food. Turn candy and cookie making time into non-edible projects like making wreaths, dough art decorations or a gingerbread house. Plan group activities with family and friends that aren’t all about food. Try serving a holiday meal to the community, playing games or going on a walking tour of decorated homes.
- Bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering. This will be your opportunity to be able to add your own flair to the food, and bringing something healthy will give you more choices to be healthy!
- Practice Healthy Holiday Cooking. Preparing favorite dishes lower in fat and calories will help promote healthy holiday eating. Incorporate some of these simple-cooking tips in traditional holiday recipes to make them healthier.
- Gravy — Refrigerate the gravy to harden fat. Skim the fat off. This will save a whopping 56 gm of fat per cup!
- Dressing — Use a little less bread and add more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables. Add fruits such as cranberries or apples. Moisten or flavor with low fat low sodium chicken or vegetable broth and applesauce.
- Turkey – Enjoy delicious, roasted turkey breast without the skin and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving.
- Green Bean Casserole — Cook fresh green beans with chucks of potatoes instead of cream soup. Top with almonds instead of fried onion rings.
- Mashed Potato — Use skim milk, chicken broth, garlic or garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese instead of whole milk and butter.
- Quick Holiday Nog — Four bananas, 1-1/2 cups skim milk or soymilk, 1-1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon rum extract, and ground nutmeg. Blend all ingredients except nutmeg. Puree until smooth. Top with nutmeg.
- Desserts — Make a crustless pumpkin pie. Substitute two egg whites for each whole egg in baked recipes. Replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk in cheesecakes and cream pies. Top cakes with fresh fruit, fruit sauce, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar instead of fattening frosting.
Enjoy the holidays, make sure to keep your normal workout and activity times scheduled for you, incorporate healthy recipes into your holiday meals, and don’t restrict yourself from enjoying your favorite holiday foods. In the long run, your mind and body will thank you! Happy Holidays from Epic Fitness!