10 Tips for Eating Healthy this Holiday Season
It’s hard. There’s so much temptation around you…is that goat cheese? Is that the good kind of dip? Why did Grandma have to make her famous pumpkin pie, she knows I’m on a diet and I can’t resist! Eating healthy over the holiday season can be extremely difficult.
And you’re not alone in your struggle to eat healthy over the holidays. On average, Americans gain one to two pounds over the holiday season and most let that extra couple pounds add up year after year. Stay on track over the holidays with some very easy tips for eating healthy over the holidays:
1. Don’t skip meals.
If you skip meals before big Thanksgiving or Christmas feasts, you’re doing yourself a disservice. Most likely, if you skip breakfast, you’ll overeat once it comes time to break out the cheese platters because you’ll be hungry. So do yourself a favor and be sure to fill up on breakfast, so you don’t fill up on turkey and pumpkin pie later on. Plus, you’ll get your metabolism revved up and ready to go for the big meals in the evening by eating regular meals throughout the day.
2. Use a smaller plate.
When fixing your plate, grab a smaller one than normal. How will a smaller plate help you? A smaller plate will look packed with a smaller amount of food. Since the plate is smaller, you won’t feel compelled to fill a ton of extra white space, which leads to overeating. Grabbing a smaller plate come dinner time will trick your mind into thinking there’s more on your plate, so you’ll grab/eat less overall and feel fuller quicker.
3. Eat healthier foods first.
Once you have your plate made, start by eating a salad or some fruit and veggies first. In fact, you should use this as a guide for your entire meal. This way, you’re not over-stuffing yourself because you filled up on the unhealthiest, starchiest foods first. When it comes to the holidays, less is more and healthy should come first.
4. Drink a glass of water before eating.
Or even more, according to some sources. But drinking at least one glass of water before digging into those big meals will help you feel fuller sooner and prevent you from overeating. Down a glass an hour before the meal to get the most from your water. Staying properly hydrated also aids in digestion, speeds up your metabolism, prevents bloating, detoxifies the body and clears up the skin, just to name a few benefits of staying properly hydrated. Sometimes, we mistake thirst cues as hunger cues, which causes us to eat when we’re not actually hungry. Staying hydrated also cuts down on these mistaken cues!
5. Take smaller bites.
Seriously! If you take smaller bites of food, about half of what you normally would, you’ll fill up on less. Why? For starters, you’re eating slower and giving your body time to signal that it’s full. Next, you’re taking what seems like more bites of food, which tricks your brain into thinking you’re eating more (when you’re actually eating less, woah!). And finally, you’ll be more mindful of what and how much you’re eating, instead of unconsciously digging in to an old holiday eating pattern. Break the habit of overeating at holiday meals to prevent unwanted weight gain.
6. Slow down.
Slow down while you’re eating. Your food isn’t going anywhere. What’s the rush? When you take things slow, you give your body the proper time to signal that it’s full. Slowing down helps you become more mindful of what you’re eating and how much since you’re not shoveling food in your mouth as quickly as possible. Put down your fork after every bite you take, which will make you more mindful as well. Between bites, take a sip of water. Wait 10 minutes before getting seconds to give your body time to signal that it’s full. All of these techniques work to trick your brain into perceiving less as more, therefore aiding you in your quest not to overeat.
7. Get appetizers out of sight.
Stand at least an arm’s length away from any type of food at holiday parties. Better yet, socialize in another room completely. This way, food is out of sight and out of mind. The easier you make it to overeat, the more likely you are to overeat, especially with a lot of delicious food tempting you. Keep food away from you and don’t eat while distracted to prevent the extra pounds from packing on.
8. Bring a healthy dish with you.
If you’re not sure whether there will be a healthy dish to eat when attending parties, bring one with you! This helps out your host by contributing a food to the party, and ensures you’ll have a dish you can indulge in without too much guilt. Others will most likely be thanking you as well!
9. Don’t overeat healthy foods.
This is a big one! Yes, what you’re eating might be super healthy. But even overeating healthy foods will lead to weight gain, so be mindful of how much you’re eating. The key to surviving the holiday season without significant weight gain is portion control and knowing when to say no to certain foods.
10. Get up and moving after dinner.
Enjoy your food without guilt. Then, get the juices flowing and your metabolism going by being active post-holiday feast. Something as simple as a walk around the block will help your body start digesting the food you ate. The metabolism boost will help you burn off excess calories and the endorphins will make you feel good. Plus, pick an activity the whole family will enjoy to bond, make memories with your loved ones and get moving in a fun way.
Don’t let the holiday season ruin the progress you’ve made this year! With just a few, quick tricks, you can control how much you’re eating over the holidays and prevent that unwanted weight gain.
If you’re looking for a yummy healthy snack to satisfy your sweet tooth over the holidays, try our cocoa-infused Pecan Choco. Our chocolate pecan butter has a rich chocolate flavor that compliments the taste and texture of the pecans. The perfect balance of sweet and savory with oodles of chocolate.