Jen Articles

Holiday Nutrition Strategies

Plan ahead

Plan your holiday healthy eating and indulgences but keep the plan realistic. Make weight maintenance, not weight loss, your goal. Think about the situations you’ll face and what you can do to minimize the damage. Planning is key to enjoying indulgences wisely without gorging yourself or throwing your healthy habits out the window.

Make dietary adjustments

If you know you’ll be attending a holiday party, for example, adjust your eating accordingly, or put in a little extra time at the gym. However, avoid skipping meals. If you allow yourself to become too hungry, your self-control will falter. You can also experiment with healthier versions of your favorite holiday foods.

Maintain healthy habits

Keep your fridge and pantry stocked with wholesome choices. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy products should make up the basis of your regular diet. Fill up on these healthy choices so that you’ll be less likely to stuff yourself with the unhealthy foods at the events you’ll attend.

Indulge wisely

Maybe you’ve waited all year for Grandma’s pumpkin pie or your sister’s famous stuffing, so make an effort to pick and choose your indulgences wisely. If you’ve waited all year for your sister’s stuffing why fill up on store bought cookies? Before you’re confronted with holiday eats, determine your favorite holiday foods and enjoy them modestly, forgoing the holiday eats that aren’t that appealing. Figure out your favorites, and which holiday indulgences don’t do much for you. This is also a wise strategy to use when holiday celebrations are held over multiple days. Pick and choose your favorites through the foods that will be served. Love your sister’s stuffing, have it on Monday’s celebration. Maybe you are not crazy about your aunt’s stuffing but love her mashed potatoes. Ok-have her mashed potatoes at her event but forgo the stuffing. But do not have stuffing and mashed potatoes at both events. This also goes for alcoholic beverages – watch your intake or skip drinking altogether and spend the calories on once-a-year holiday foods.

Enjoy your food

Once you’ve chosen your holiday indulgences, put aside any guilty feelings and savor every morsel slowly and with awareness. Really taste the food, feel the pleasure of it in your mouth and in your stomach. Don’t talk, watch tv, or eat it while standing-sit down and focus on the food.

Return to normal

The most important tip of all is to resume your normal healthy eating and exercise patterns. Holidays are usually one or two days not weeks. Except for the actual day of celebration, you should be in your normal healthy eating and exercise routines. Don’t let a few indulgences here and there turn into six weeks of overindulgence.

Change your exercise routine

Normally do 30 minutes on the treadmill, try incorporating sprints to give your body a nice surprise. Our bodies adapt to the same routines we give them and basically our bodies become more efficient. If you change up your exercise routine it will be enough of a surprise for your body and it may just work a bit harder at working off that extra cookie!