The holidays are notorious for overindulgence, whether it’s from eating too much at the family dinner table or from having too much rich and sugary food that isn’t healthy for us. But what can you do over the holidays to avoid packing on the pounds when healthy options aren’t as readily available?
Thankfully, there are plenty of tips and tricks you can use to avoid overeating and making poor health choices during big family feasts, while still enjoying your favorite foods. Take a look through this list of helpful ideas that you can use to make better decisions this holiday season, and celebrate without the stomachache.
1. Watch What You Drink
The beverages we consume during the holidays is an often unexpected source of carbs and calories. Sweet drinks and alcohol can have unhealthy ingredients, and when we don’t stop to consider what we are drinking, we can find ourselves shaking our heads in shock at the scale next year.
To help avoid overindulging with unhealthy drinks, make sure you are consuming plenty of water throughout the day. Not only will this help you quench your thirst, but drinking a glass of water before a meal can also help you feel full and calm your cravings before dessert is brought out.
2. Stop Snacking
Eating healthy, full meals is the best way to avoid gaining weight over the holidays, so don’t skip out on breakfast and lunch in favor of unhealthy snacks! Not only are snacks typically high in fats and sugar, but they fill us up before we have a chance to eat our veggies during dinner.
If you are going to snack, try going to healthier foods like cut vegetables, fruits, or other foods that provide additional health benefits like boosting energy levels and building endurance.
3. Stay Active
Staying active in winter isn’t always the easiest task, but it’s important to do what you can to combat additional calories with exercise. Even something as simple as taking a walk after your meal can go a long way in keeping your overall health in check over the holiday season. Just be sure to watch out for ice!
4. Find Healthy Options
Make sure that there are plenty of healthy options on the table, like salads and other vegetable side dishes. If you are hosting dinner, ensure that you provide the options your family and friends need to have a balanced meal. If you are visiting someone else, call ahead and see what the menu is, or offer to help out the host by bringing your own healthy dishes to share.
5. Fill Up on Vegetables
When filling up your plate with food, try and keep a ratio of 50% vegetables, 25% meats, and 25% starches. This will help you get the servings of veggies you need while still enjoying the other items on the table. A helpful hint: more color on a plate often means a healthier meal!
6. Pick the Best Spot
Having the best seat at the table doesn’t just mean more elbow room! If you aren’t seated right in front of the buffet table, you can avoid some of the cravings for second and third (and fourth) helpings. Staring at the available options during dinner can make it difficult to stick to one serving, so don’t sit yourself in the way of temptation!
7. Take Your Time
Don’t rush to stuff yourself just because holiday food tastes good! Things will be just as delicious if you take your time and savor each bite. Slowing down while eating helps you to fill up naturally, rather than still feeling hungry even though you’ve already overeaten.
In the same vein, don’t rush to get up and have additional helpings of food before you’ve finished the entire plate, including all your veggies and healthier items. This will help you stick to just one serving of each of your favorite foods, which will be more than enough when you take your time enjoying them!
8. Stop When You are Full
The biggest favor you can do for yourself this holiday season is to stop eating once you are full. When eating foods we enjoy, most of us want to push ourselves past our limits, which leaves us aching and uncomfortable. By listening to our bodies and putting down the fork once we’ve had enough, we can save ourselves the discomfort and enjoy a much healthier holiday. Remember that leftovers are always an option!
Holidays are always a wonderful time for family and friends to gather together and enjoy each other’s company. As a part of that tradition, we often indulge in delicious meals, but it’s important to keep our health in mind. That doesn’t mean we can’t eat our dinner favorites, but following these tips can help us avoid feeling too full on unhealthy foods, so we can experience the absolute best that the holiday season has to offer.