It’s the most wonderful time of the year–sweet potato pie, cornbread stuffing, mac and cheese–but the holidays are also the most difficult time to work on your healthy eating goals. I have good news for you; maintaining a healthy lifestyle during the holidays doesn’t mean forgoing all your favorite comfort foods. These healthy holiday secrets are exactly what you need to help stay on track.
Focus on Family and Friends
Remember that the most important part of the holidays is getting together with your family and friends! Focus on spending time and sharing memories with your closest. Get in the spirit of giving and celebrate the season through old and new relationships. The food isn’t going anywhere!
Host a Holiday Party
Overwhelmed with party invites? Instead of relying on others to make your food choices, consider throwing a holiday themed party yourself! Create unique and healthy menu items your guests will enjoy. Ask others to bring their healthy dishes for variety.
Fill up on Nutrition
Instead of loading your plate with heavy carbs, fill up on nutrient dense foods. Try sweet potatoes, greens, and protein rich turkey. Not only will you feel fuller faster, these foods are best for your digestion. You’ll also have more room for dessert! Mmmm, pumpkin pie…
On average it takes our bodies 20 minutes to signal our brains that we are full. This means that eating at a slower rate helps you eat less and digest your food properly. As you eat all that deliciousness, try to enjoy and savor every bite, paying special attention to the flavors.
Take a Walk
You may feel like a log after your meal, but a 30 minute walk after a holiday feast can be very beneficial. Moving your body helps your food digest, and can prevent that full, sick feeling you have after stuffing your face. You’ll also speed up your metabolism and burn off more of what you eat.
Watch Out for Leftovers
One of the best parts of holiday meals are the leftovers, but eating heavy food for days on end isn’t ideal. After a few days your body will start to store the excess calories and you will definitely see the calories. Share your leftovers with others, or freeze them to enjoy at a later date.
Eat Before the Holiday Dinner
Don’t starve yourself all day for a huge feast at dinner–you are setting yourself up to overeat. Eat your regularly scheduled meals throughout the day. Skipping meals can compromise your sugar levels and more importantly, your sanity!
Drink Lots of Water
Most hunger is only thirst. Good hydration habits can solve many of your hunger woes and help get nutrients flowing through your body. Water can also help you feel full so have a glass before your holiday meal.
(Featured Photo Annabelle Breakey)