December Diet Dilemma: Eating Balanced During the Holidays
The holidays are a time of celebration full of family, friends, and festivities. But, it’s also easy to overindulge during this time. You may be tempted by the decadent food, have less time to exercise, or find yourself emotionally eating from stress.
But, with a few simple tips and tricks, you’ll be able to fully savor the holiday season and stick to your diet goals. And when you maintain healthy habits, you’ll enjoy the holiday season so much more.
Here are 7 ways you can eat balanced during the holidays:
1. Don’t “Save” Your Calories
Many people “save” their calories for the big holiday meal or dinner out by skipping meals or eating less earlier in the day. This attempt to eat less actually ends up backfiring because you’ll end up starving and will be more likely to overeat once you actually sit down for a meal.
Instead, eat as you normally would during the day, and stick to a consistent meal schedule. In doing this, you’ll feel much more in control once the festivities ensue.
2. Use Smaller Plates
Many people tend to eat more because there is food in front of them. If you’re using a larger plate, chances are good you’re going to fill that plate and then be tempted to finish what’s in front of you.
Alternatively, try using a smaller plate, such as a salad or appetizer-sized plate instead for your main dish. You will be forced to put less on your plate and be more selective with the foods you choose. This trick can be especially helpful if you’re an honorary member of the “clean your plate” club.
3. Stay Active
If you’re wrapped up in the holiday to-do’s, you may find that exercise keeps falling to the backburner. But the truth is that during the holidays, we all need exercise more than ever.
Keeping up with your exercise routine can motivate you to eat well and help lessen holiday stress. If you don’t have long chunks of time, aim for shorter workouts most days of the week. When you exercise more regularly, your mindset will stay positive and those wondrous mood-boosting endorphins will stick around longer.
4. Make Time for Yourself
You may be socializing more during the holidays, which is great, but it can also be draining and stressful. Even if you’re an extrovert, you still need alone time to recharge.
If you don’t recharge you may find yourself burning out, and then rummaging through the pantry looking for sweets to calm the stress or provide quick energy.
Take at least 10 minutes for yourself every day to do something that relaxes you, such as reading, meditating, or going for a morning walk.
5. Eat Your Veggies First
High-calorie foods abound during the holidays, and it can be easy to blow your daily calorie budget. To help control calories, focus on eating your veggies first.
The fiber and water content of vegetables fills you up on minimal calories, making it a great food to control portions. Whether it’s cooked vegetables or a salad, eat at least a cup of veggies before your higher calorie foods to help you to eat less overall.
6. Keep Food at the Counter
In the traditional family-style way of eating, the food is placed right on the table. Instead of doing this, try putting your food platters on a kitchen counter or island. This makes it not as convenient to grab for seconds, as the food is not right there on the table in front of you.
7. Choose Your Food Wisely
Instead of grabbing everything, choose a few items that you really want which feel worth it to you. This may be a food you really like or one you haven’t had in a while. This helps prevent you from wasting calories on food you don’t care about.
Eating healthy during the holidays can be challenging, but it’s not impossible. With these simple diet and lifestyle tips, getting back into a groove in the new year will be a breeze.