Everything that's NOT healthy jumps to mind when one thinks of Christmas!
Chocolate chip cookies, decadent hot chocolate, eggnog, apple pie, roasted potatoes, glazed carrots, turkey smothered in gravy....
We get it! These are the foods that make us feel all fuzzy and satisfied. It comforts us and reminds us of precious family memories.
No one wants to eat on Christmas like their next weigh-in is the next day!
After a year's hard work, it's a time for indulgence, enjoyment, and very well-deserved calories!
BUT, and here is the big but, no one wants to feel like they ate for an entire army come January!
Yup, that extra slice of apple pie or second glass of eggnog may have ruined your weightless or healthy eating efforts.
Now "lose weight" needs to be on your new year's resolution list, again....
It's a bit of a vicious cycle.
You're working hard during the year to keep the weight off, only to overindulge during the holidays and needing to start all over again in the new year.
It can get tiresome and take a toll on your body and health, both physically and mentally.
Let it be different this Christmas. Stop this cycle in its tracks!
By making a few different choices, adjustments, and conscious decisions, you can avoid packing on the pounds during the holidays.
Here are a 12 easy tips and changes to keep you on track:
1. Homemade food is always better and healthier than store-bought.
It contains less saturated fat, sodium, sugar, and preservatives. When you cook meals or recipes yourself, you know exactly what and how much goes into it.
It may take some more time to prepare, but your body will thank you later!
2. Include more fiber in your meals.
Fiber fills you up and keeps you satiated for longer. And studies have shown that the more fiber you eat, generally the fewer total calories you will consume.
Fiber is also fantastic to get your gut working in an optimal condition. Good fiber sources include fruits, veggies, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
3. It's all about portion control. Say no to seconds and thirds.
Yes, it may have been so delicious that you cannot resist an extra serving! But think about how stuffed or guilty you may feel afterward.
Using smaller dish spoons and plates could also help you dish less. You could also use your fist as a healthy portion indicator. Here is a good guideline.
4. When dishing up, fill your plate with many veggies and eat them first!
They will fill you up, contribute to your fiber intake, and are lower in calories than other food groups.
Great veggie options include spinach, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, green peas, and sweet potato. Without all the extra cream, butter, and sugar! So dish wisely ;-)
5. Prepare before you go out
Going out for a cocktail party or having a big Christmas dinner? Eat a light, healthy snack and drink plenty of water before you go.
This way, you won't be famished when arriving and reaching for unhealthy snacks or order a gigantic burger!
Sliced apples with peanut butter, or a rice cake with cottage cheese, sliced bananas, and a drizzle of honey are great options.
6. Everything on the buffet or table looks good, how do you choose??
Dish a teaspoon or tablespoon of each item and taste them all! Choose 2-3 favorites, and have a second serving of them (not too much!).
Delicious mini chocolate peppermint cake with cream cheese icing from Azurefarm.com
7. Is dessert is your weak spot?
Scan all the dessert options and choose just one that you know you love and which never disappoints.
After a generous serving of your favorite, you'll feel more satisfied and less inclined to try out the other dessert options. Well, we hope so!
You could also share two options with someone and get to taste both.
8. Out of sight, out of mind...
Keeping treats, cookies, sweets, and all those yummy temptations out of sight will help you forget and eat less of them.
Not many can resist a cookie jar on the counter; it's a magnet of strong force!
9. Like to taste while cooking? Licking the bowl after making a cake?
We do too! But, this is a very sneaky way of unconsciously consuming extra calories and packing on the pounds.
Trust the recipe (or your gut) and cooking skills! And rinse that bowl immediately :-)
10. Get creative with your holiday and Christmas cooking.
Finding healthier alternatives and making a few swaps could save you tons of unnecessary calories.
Use greek yogurt instead of mayonnaise.
Applesauce or mashed bananas are excellent replacements for butter in baking.
Give your food more flavor with spices, herbs, and garlic instead of butter and salt.
Rather bake and steam your food than fry them.
Cauliflower mash can be just as delicious as potato mash.
Momtastic.com has a fantastic list of healthy ingredient substitutes.
11. Don't stop moving!
This time of the year, it's colder, we are busy, on vacation, or just too stuffed to want to exercise!
But staying active, even just taking brisk walks, or doing small 10 minute bursts of exercise, can help immensely. It keeps the blood flowing, the heart pumping, and the gut going!
12. Try to best stick to your everyday routine.
This includes sleeping, eating, and daily activities and chores.
When you have structure and stick to daily habits, your body knows what to expect and stays in its rhythm.
Not getting enough shut-eye can significantly affect your weight-loss goals (webmd.com).
Healthy eating and living is a constant, continuous journey. When we can accept that losing, or maintaining a healthy weight, is a marathon and not a race, sticking to it makes it much easier!
It's a lifestyle rather than a quick fix. Minor tweaks and adjustments will lead to more significant results and overall kindness towards our bodies.
Rather choose to savor, enjoy, and respect food than deny yourself of all life's pleasures.
Food is meant to be enjoyed, and when you can find a balance between healthy eating and some occasional indulgence, your body and mind will thank you in the long run.