Updated: Nov 29, 2021
‘Tis the holiday season! We all know what that means - FOOD! Lots of parties, lots of family gatherings, and LOTS of food! While we look forward to all of the yumminess, how do we stay on track with our nutrition?
Keep to the basics!
Drinking at least half your body weight in ounces is crucial to keeping your health. For example, if you weigh 150 lbs, then try to drink at least 75 ounces of water a day. Proper hydration helps your body function properly, keeps you feeling full longer, and as a bonus, helps keep your skin from drying out in the winter.
Eat 4-6 servings of vegetables each day.
Vegetables are high in fiber and water content, along with tons of vitamins and other nutrients. Vegetables will fill you up with fewer calories, helping you avoid overeating when faced with holiday goodies.
Focus on increasing your lean protein intake.
Your body takes longer to break down protein than carbs or fats, and protein stimulates the release of the hormone in the gut that signals that you are satisfied. As a result, you stay fuller longer.
Eat mostly whole foods.
Minimally-processed whole foods are rich in fiber and/or protein, both of which bolster feelings of being satisfied. They also tend to have fewer calories than highly-processed foods.
Aim for 30 minutes of purposeful movement each day.
Every day, try to include some kind of easy, purposeful movement. Go for a run, take the dog for a walk, play with the kids, go on an easy bike ride, or find a restorative yoga class. Keeping your body active will keep your hunger hormones under control and gives you less time for snacking!
Eat slowly and mindfully
If you deliberately eat slowly and mindfully, you'll feel more satisfied. Eating slowly gives your brain time to catch up with your digestion, so you can recognize when you have eaten enough. As a result, you will be less likely to overeat.
Eat until 80% full
Have you ever eaten so much that you were uncomfortable? Have you ever eaten until you were full only to realize a little later that you ate too much? Eating until you are 80% satisfied usually means leaving a little space at the end of a meal. It means finishing a meal feeling light and energized instead of heavy and sluggish. It can help avoid some of those extra holiday calories, too!
What about special events like holiday parties and family gatherings?
Before special events, eat your regular meals with a focus on lean proteins and a variety of vegetables. Skipping meals and “saving up” calories can backfire and lead to overeating when faced with your favorite holiday foods.
When filling your plate at these special events, choose wisely. Pick your holiday favorites and enjoy reasonable portions of those, and then fill the rest of your plate with fruits and veggies. Are you worried that fruits and vegetables won’t be available? Offer to bring a veggie tray!!
If you are drinking adult beverages, consuming a lot of extra calories is super easy. To avoid this, drink a glass of water (or sparkling water) between alcoholic drinks. This will help your hydration and help limit the amount of alcohol you consume. Also, choose your drinks wisely. Some are loaded with sugar and calories, which can add up really fast.
Most importantly, remember that one decadent meal won’t completely derail your health and fitness goals just like one super healthy meal won’t make you drop 5 or 10 pounds. Stick to the basics of nutrition for 80% of the time (because 100% perfection isn’t realistic!!), choose your indulgences wisely, and lose the guilt. Enjoy your holidays!