It’s that time of year again. Time to celebrate, unwind, and spend quality time with those we love. Many of my clients find this time of year particularly stressful, often because they are afraid of undoing all of the hard work they’ve done up until now. According to a recent poll by Udi’s Healthy Foods, 43% of British columbians will completely abandon their eating routines over the holidays. Another 35% will eat as little as possible at holiday events, and 5% will either bring their own food or avoid the event completely! I recommend my clients find a balance somewhere between complete abandonment of nutrition goals and not partaking in festivities. Think about how you want to feel when January arrives. Do you want to feel disheartened because you’ve undone so much of the progress you made in the previous year? Or do you want to feel satisfied that you had a fulfilling holiday season, but ready to return to your eating and fitness routines? It is possible to enjoy the holiday season while still keeping your nutrition in check. Here are some tips from an earlier blog I wrote on navigating the holiday season in a healthy way:
- Know when to indulge, and when to hold back. When faced with a buffet of choices, fill up on turkey, ham, and veggies, but go easy on gravy, stuffing, and finger-foods.
- Feed your sweet tooth, not teeth. It is very easy to think, “Oh I’ll just have a small taste of everything.” But before you know it, you’ve had an entire day’s worth of calories on one dessert plate. Instead, choose the 2 sweets that look most appealing to you, and half each of them with a friend (that’s right, for the equivalent of ONE dessert). Remember that there is often more than one occasion to enjoy such delicacies, so choose the best of what each has to offer and truly enjoy it.
- Beware of high calorie drinks. A traditional Rum and Egg Nog can cost you over 400 calories and almost 20 grams of fat! That’s more than a typical slice of pizza! Alternatively, opt for lower calorie mixers, such as a club soda, or cranberry juice mixed with water. This will save you over 300 calories, and all the fat, which you can then put toward that dessert you’ve had your eye on all night.
- Never arrive to a party on an empty stomach. That is like going to battle without a weapon. Instead, have a light, high fibre snack 1-2 hours prior and drink at least 2 cups of water. A salad topped with a boiled egg, or a bowl of cereal with fruit and
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- Stay active! The holidays offer us plenty of opportunity to get moving, which will help us avoid the dreaded January weigh-in. Instead of making the meal the focal point of the gathering, why not organize an ice skating party? Or make a family event out of snow shoeing. Even a simple walk allows you time to catch up with friends and work off some calories at the same time.
Keep these tips in mind during the next few weeks, as you celebrate with family and friends. Lose the all-or-none belief that you must either abstain from every delicacy offered or gorge on all that you can get your hands on. Be selective. Allow each flavour, and each moment, to linger just a little bit longer.
If you’re looking for a healthy recipe to serve this holiday season, check out this one for Overnight Cinnamon Raisin Toast Bake.