The holiday season is upon us and I have started to realise that more often than not this automatically means that people become careless about their health and reverse a lot of the hard work they have done during the year.
This shouldn't be the case, and our enjoyment of the holiday season doesn't have to come at the depriment of our health.
So how can you enjoy the holidays AND at least maintain your body?
Read my tips below!
1. Be active with friends and family.
This is the time of the year where we get together with our loved ones and we can become quite sedentary together. Sit by the fire, play games, drink mulled wine, eat delicious food, sleep. This is however also the perfect occasion to get moving together. I don't mean doing a HIIT workout outside in the snow. Go for a walk, a hike, something nice and easy but active!
2. Snack wisely.
During the holiday season, snacks are available on every corner and not the healthy kind. As much as you should enjoy your time and not deprive yourself you shold also do so wisely. Try to avoid snacking for the sake of snacking, if you are not hungry don't reach out for the snacks just because they are there. If you are hungry then reach for real food first, whether that's a small serving of a meal or fruits with the occasionaly naughty snack! I have recently written a post about snacking so if you haven't read it, it's linked on the side of this post.
3. Watch your portion sizes.
This applies more than ever. The best way to be able to enjoy the holidays withoout piling up weight is to make sure you are in control of your portions. Feel free to try anything you want, just make sure you are in control of how much you are having. Using smaller plates always helps, as your plate will look fuller faster.
4. Keep your meals balanced with protein.
Holiday meals tend to be high in carbs and fat and low in protein. Protein is a great way to help keep you full for longer and is a great way to stay in control of your weight. Good sources of protein include meat, poultry, fish, and some plant foods like beans and quinoa.
5. Don't forget your fiber.
Fiber is another important nutrient that induces fullness.Some studies show that increased dietary fiber can reduce total calorie intake, which may help prevent weight gain over the holidays. Unfortunately, many common holiday foods lack adequate amounts of fiber. Do your best to eat fiber-rich foods, such as vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds.
6. Cut back on test-tasting.
You are in the kitchen cooking , or helping someone cook or even just passing by and you taste something every few minutes. I think that we usually don't register these tastings as caloric intake but unfortunatley they are and they add up. Even small bites of holiday dishes can add up in calories.Tasting your dishes can be important, especially if you’re cooking for others — but a tiny bite is probably more than enough.You should also make sure that you aren't hungry while cooking, as it's much easier to go overboard on taste-testing when your stomach is growling.
7. Limit your dessert intake.
It's everywhere! Literally! This often leads to excessive sugar consumption, a common way to gain weight. Instead of eating every treat in sight, just focus on your favorites and ditch the rest. Another trick is to enjoy the desserts you do indulge in, simply taking the time to eat them slowly — which may leave you feeling more satisfied and less likely to overdo it.
8. Watch out for liquid calories.
It's the season to be jolly right? Yes it is! We are constantly having drinks, alcoholic or not. These drinks can contribute a significant amount of sugar and empty calories to your diet, which can cause weight gain. Also, alcohol consumption is linked to increased appetite and and can cause weight gain. If you're trying to control your weight, it’s best to limit your intake of high-calorie beverages.
9. Modify your recipes.
Who says you can't eat all the dishes you love just a bit healthier?
Replace butter with applesauce, mashed banana, or pumpkin puree.
Instead of sugar, use a lower-calorie substitute such as stevia, erythritol, or xylitol.
Add dried fruit instead of chocolate chips or candies.
Flavor dishes with herbs and spices instead of butter.
Use cooking methods like baking, steaming, or grilling instead of frying.
Substitute low-fat or skim milk for heavy cream.
Replace cream cheese, sour cream, and mayo with Greek yogurt.
Flavor your treats with extracts like vanilla, almond, and peppermint instead of butter and sugar.
Use club soda or sparkling water in place of sweetened beverages.
Flavor drinks with freshly squeezed lemon or lime rather than sugar.
Cinnamon can also add flavor to holiday-themed beverages.
In dairy-based drinks, use low-fat or skim milk in place of heavy cream.
10. Avoid processed foods.
Use the holiday season to make meals from scratch with your loved ones. This way you know exactly what's in your dishes and you aren't consuming uncessary sugars, salt and unhealthy fats.
Love and health,