The holidays are usually a time of big gatherings, parties, and lots of food.
It can be hard to keep up with a diet or any type of healthy eating plan.
Between all of the food you’re around, the traveling you have to do, and the stress, it’s understandable why this time of year is hard for those who are worrying about food intake and dieting.
What you may not know is, it’s completely fine to be unsure.
Here are some tips to make your holidays a little more healthy and easy to manage. But remember, it is ok to be in the grey.
How to Eat Healthy Around the Holidays
I love the holidays. I get excited to have the family over, travel, and see the lights and the decorations. I’m Jewish and my wife is Italian. We celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas. But you all know that with the lights and the decorations comes the FOOD. A lot of food. You wait all year for some of the holiday favorites. Everyone brings their delicious cooking over to work or your house. And they are so hard to resist. So how to survive the holidays without sabotaging your health? It’s all about planning and making smart choices. More importantly, it’s about being kind to yourself and knowing that it’s NOT all or nothing.
Healthy Holiday Eating if You’re the Host
If you are the host, it’s a little bit easier because you can control what you plan for your guests. No, I’m not suggesting that everyone gets a piece of lettuce and a carrot, but when you make the menu you can make some choices.
If you have a friend who is on a particular diet, I know you would be creative in finding ways to give him/her some amazing options for dinner. So, pretend that you are that friend!
Healthy Holiday Eating if You’re the Guest
If you are the guest, you may not be able to control what food you’re served, and you’re going to see other people eating tempting treats. But here are strategies to stay on track:
Choose Your Timing
Don’t let the holiday meal be your first meal because then it’s a wrap. You’re coming in feeling deprived and nothing will stop you. Even if you’re fasting, don’t start with that meal. If you are fasting though, be sure that your meal is in your eating window. If you can’t manage the timing – sometimes meals start later than you expected then – restart your count after dinner. So, if it ends at 10 pm and you fast for 14 hours, start your count at 10 pm. But no matter what, don’t come to that table starving!
Start with the healthy choices first, such as salad and veggies. Make sure to have some protein as well. Add your carbs and your cheats to your plate last. You know very well that if you start with the bread you’re going to eat a lot more of it.
Fit In Favorites
No food is on the naughty list. But choose the dishes you really love and can’t get any other time of the year. For example, you can have rice anytime, but Aunt Edna’s pumpkin pie is really a holiday treat. Give it a taste! As much as possible, just eat a small portion. This way you are not depriving yourself from your favorites.
Make Smart Choices about Alcohol
You’re likely going to drink. Let’s make smart choices here as well. Do you have to have the beverage with 12 juices and simple sugar or can you maybe have a vodka club? The strategy is to pick the least evil alcohol with less sugar and calories as much as possible.
End with that Meal
Don’t keep going on to the next day; Thanskgiving is one meal. It doesn’t have to be brunch the next day and then another lunch. Choose your meal, enjoy it and get back on track the next day. Consider keeping track of what you eat. Sometimes writing it down and seeing it on paper is enough to make you realize how much you’ve eaten.
You’ve got a lot on your plate this time of year, and physical activity can get crowded out. But being active is your secret holiday weapon; at the very least, move as much as you used to before the holiday. But if you can move even more – even better.
Get More Sleep
Going out more and staying out later often means cutting back on sleep. Sleep loss can make it harder to feel energized. When we are less energized, we reach for snacks to help us get energy. As always aim for 7-8 hours of sleep.
Live in the Grey Zone
The most important thing is to say to understand that it is ok to live in the grey. Sometimes we feel like it’s all or nothing. Either I do it right or I go all out. That’s not true. You know I’m a fan of planning your cheat meal and getting back on track. This is the secret sauce to being able to stay on your health journey without feeling deprived. Even with all the right planning, we are only human and we may fall from grace – know that it will happen and don’t let it destroy the next day.
As always if this is hard to do and you don’t know how to begin, you can reach out to our team. I invented a new method where we help empower people to finally realize their symptoms are not in their head. You always knew there was a better way. We help you be the Gamechanger in your life.