How to Eat Healthy During The 2021 Holidays?
As the holiday’s fast approaches and seasonal parties get underway, delicious food items like pecan pie, glazed, ham, butter cookies, and a few tumblers of eggnog will swing your way.
When these items are eaten over a two-four week period, it’s easy to see how an extra two hundred calories a day will cause you to pack on a pound or two.
Although sweet treats and festively rich meals can be a landmine for weight gain, there are a few ways you can navigate through the holidays without depriving yourself completely for the sake of not gaining weight.
In this article, we will provide you with some tips and tricks on holiday healthy eating, how to meal prep during the holidays, and tips on how to lose weight over the holidays.
Guidelines Nutritionists Recommend for Holiday Healthy Eating
- If you have the option available to you, use a smaller snack-sized plate rather than a large plate for your holiday meals. When you do pick up a few items to snack on, make sure to pick only foods that provide you with pure enjoyment as this will help remove any guilt you may feel. Guilt causes stress and stress can cause emotional eating, which you do not want to fall into.
- Do not let your holiday parties, whether that be Thanksgiving or early Christmas parties, go for longer than a day of indulgence. When you have parties that extend into weekend events, it increases the likelihood that you are going to indulge or splurge more often and thus, consume more calories than intended.
- Listen to your body. Just because the food and drink are available, does not mean that you have to consume them. If you truly do not like eggnog or pumpkin pie, don’t consume it at all and choose something else instead. Just because it is the food of the holidays, doesn’t mean you have to consume it.
- If you are the one doing the meal prep for your Christmas parties, always start with a broth-based soup and salad, then have the second course with lean protein and a heaping of vegetables. By the time you are ready for dessert, you shouldn’t need more than a small piece.
- There is bound to be alcohol. The best way to nix the extra calories is by foregoing the alcoholic beverages altogether. If this is not an option for you, alternate between one alcoholic drink and sparkling water. This way you can still keep it festive without the hangover or too many excess calories.
- Consider making your favorite holiday meals during other times of the year. Knowing that you’ll get to consume green bean casserole and pumpkin pie in July will help you reduce overeating.
- Stick to the three-bite rule for desserts. The first bite is the best because of the taste, and the last bite is the grand finale. Every single other bite in between will taste the same, so have one bite in between instead of ten.
- Stay hydrated as thirst is easily confused with hunger; Also, do away with extra trimmings like sauces, seasonings, and processed foods. Remove the packaged crackers, forego the barbecue or ranch sauce, and don’t have the whipped cream on your pie.
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Healthy Meal Preparation
Now, with all the chaos going on during the holidays, you might find it a little hard to meal prep in a healthy manner. This is because between traveling, shopping, and the constant reminders that there are threats all around, healthy eating gets pushed to the back of our minds. Let’s take a look at a few things you can do to help with the healthy meal prep.
Remember that you don’t always have to follow a recipe. Instead choose a healthy grain, a lean protein, and a colorful vegetable, and boom, you have a simple and healthy dinner or lunch. Make sure to include foods that have a ton of fiber!
- Stick with foods that you know work for your body. They will provide you with energy and optimize your health. If mashed potatoes are generally a well-liked vegetable in your house around the holiday season but you know it doesn’t work for you, don’t prep it!
- The holidays are a crazy time filled with shortened windows of opportunity, so choose foods that are simple. Brown rice or quinoa is perfect as they are super easy to make, are filling, and are nutritious. Pair them with peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, and onions, and add in a slice or two of rotisseries chicken, turkey, or lean beef as the lean protein option.
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- Always batch cook on Saturday or Sunday for the week and create a routine that you can follow to make it effortless. This will save you a ton of time. The first few times you meal prep, it may take you a while, but once you find your rhythm, it’ll breeze by every weekend.
- Always weigh your food out before packing it away in glass containers for the week. Proper portion control will help you stave off the urge to overindulge.
How to Lose Weight Over The Holidays?
Although you will be tempted to stay indoors and watch Christmas movies all day, don’t let this be your main focus over the holidays. Instead, find new ways to move your body.
Rather than engaging in your routine, find an indoor climbing facility, hang up holiday lights, go for a hike, or try out ice skating.
You don’t necessarily have to go to the gym, get your body moving on a regular basis and this will help keep off the holiday weight and even help you lose some!
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Other than this, make protein the star of every dish, go meatless for one meal every day, use the less is more strategy, and stock up on sleep! Remember, the holidays are about enjoyment and happiness, not about overindulgence and sampling every single dessert and cocktail on the menu.
Pick your favorites and stick to them!