A healthy holiday season
With the holiday season just around the corner, it can be helpful to think of a few strategies to help you maintain your weight while still enjoying some of the many delicious food and drinks that are everywhere you turn at the holiday parties, family gatherings and the office over the next month. The holiday season can be a stressful time for those trying to lose (or even maintain!) their weight and having a plan can help to reduce some of that stress and even allow you to enjoy yourself a bit!
1. Don’t go to the party starving
Plan ahead and have a hearty nutritious snack that includes some vegetables or fruits before you go to the party. Appetizers served at holiday parties are often loaded with extra fat and calories and it can take many to fill you up if you go to the party starving. A simple salad or fruit and yogurt combo can help to fill up your veggie quota for the meal and then have a small sampling of your favourite hors d’oeuvres until you feel just right (not stuffed to the brim).
2. Be choosy
Decide what your “must haves” are this holiday season. It’s easy to indulge in all the goodies available this time of year but try to think to yourself “Do I really actually want that _______? Or am I just eating it because it is there.” Make a mental note of what treats you want to indulge in at each event. Maybe it is your mom’s delicious whipped shortbread cookies at your family gathering and a bit of egg nog at the office Christmas party, whatever it is stick to your favourites.
3. Watch those drinks
Seasonal beverages can add up very quickly in terms of sugar, fat and calories so be careful not to drink your calories. When choosing an alcoholic beverage, try to stick to one or two and sip them throughout the evening instead of gulping them. In terms of fancy coffee beverages hot chocolate and egg nog, try to keep these to a minimum and only have a small amount when indulging.
4. Watch your portions and be mindful about what you are eating
Use a smaller plate and try as much as possible to follow the “Healthy Plate Model” when filling your plate at holiday suppers ( ½ vegetables, ¼ starch & ¼ protein) to leave you feeling satisfied but not overly stuffed. If there are too many desserts to choose from, have a tiny portion of your favourite desserts or share with someone so that you don’t feel deprived, but also don’t feel too full and lethargic from having three large portions of dessert.
5. Bring something healthy and delicious
Bringing something healthy will help you to have at least one healthy choice at the party. Bring some roasted vegetables, a delicious kale winter salad or a fruit salad to have along with dessert to show everyone that healthy really can be delicious.
6. Stay active!
Don’t wait until January to make a resolution! The holiday season can be a very busy time of year so make a resolution around physical activity to keep yourself accountable even when you feel like you are too busy for it. Make a goal to get active at least 4-5 days per week and keep an “activity calendar” on your fridge. Schedule in your workouts just like you would any other appointment to help you stick to your plan. Also, getting active doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym! Make it fun by including the whole family and enjoy the outdoors by going skating, tobogganing, skiing or simply building a snowman and making snow angels.
7. Take time to relax and enjoy
This time of year can be very busy and stressful buying presents, entertaining guests, decorating your home and cooking/baking until you can’t anymore that we often forget to take time to just relax. Enjoy some good food (in moderation) and quality time with family and friends—that is what this time of year is meant to be all about anyways!
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