The words “holiday” and “diet” rarely belong in the same sentence. Holidays = quality time with family + food, or alternatively fun times with friends + drinks. So while holiday time is the time for you to look your best, it’s also probably the most food-saturated time of the year. The conundrum: how are you meant to look good and eat all that yumminess during the festive season? Yes, life is hard, but there are ways around it. Choices must be made, and here are the dos and don’ts of having a healthy holiday season. Sahtein!
First of all, understand the ingredients of what you’re eating throughout the holidays. If you know that a certain kind of cookie has about a ton and a half of butter, avoid it! Some other equally-delicious holiday snacks might have half the calories. Just do a bit of research on your foods (or better yet, ask a professional) and know what you should truly avoid, and what’s actually ok for you during the holidays.
Don’t skip your workout
It might not be easy but this is key. Just because you’re on holiday doesn’t mean your body is too. Working out is a part of taking care of your body and health, so you shouldn’t stop during December festivities. At least try to get some exercise in whenever/wherever you can. Walk up the stairs, go for a quick run – even if you do less exercise than usual, at least keep moving.
Do find alternatives
If there’s a food you love and you can figure out a way to make it with less calories, do it! There are plenty of recipes out there with alternative ingredients and diet versions of your favorite foods. Eating well doesn’t have to equal eating unhealthy or fattening food so get to Googling and make (or buy) your own yummy and healthy options!
Don’t go hungry
Whatever you do don’t starve yourself during the holidays. This is unhealthy, and your body will be more likely to store more fat once you do eat. Besides that, the temptations will get harder to resist and you may end up binging and causing much more harm than good.
Do use smaller plates
It’s a trick you can use year round but is especially handy during the holidays. It helps to psychologically trick yourself into eating less. If you want to have all the holiday goodness, at least have less of it. That way you’re enjoying the food you eat, but you know exactly how much you’re eating, and don’t end up overeating or having more calories than you should.
Don’t forget about liquids
Amid all the meals it’s easy to forget the liquid calories you consume. Drinks, especially chocolate-loaded warm heavenliness and sugar-enhanced fruit juices can add a huge number of calories to your day without you really feeling them, or even enjoying them.
Do be strategic
You want to have holiday snacks, but you don’t want to have too much. One thing you can do is find ways to substitute your normal snacks with Christmas-y goodies. For example if your diet allows a snack at a certain time of day, make it a healthy Christmas snack rather than your usual energy bar or whatever else you’d have. The key is not to have your normal stuff AND the Christmas snack. Avoid snacking on other things and save your appetite for something worthwhile.
Don’t waste your time
There are certain foods that just fill you up on calories and are pretty useless otherwise. Heavy cheeses, excessive bread, and the like are high in calories and/or fat but don’t necessarily do much for your taste buds. They’re just not worth the calories, so save space for the real good stuff.
Do remember to count your drinks
Another massive quantity of calories comes from alcohol so don’t overdo it. If you’d rather have some decadent desserts, skip on the bubbly! Alternatively (but less healthily) you can have some drinks but less of the fattening stuff for dinner. Always when drinking alcohol, don’t have more than one drink per hour, and for every drink of alcohol, have a drink of water.
Don’t forget to enjoy the parties
You have to have fun during the holidays, otherwise what’s the point? Enjoy yourself and eat, but make sure you follow a few of these rules and keep a good balance. Enjoy a healthy, happy and safe holiday!