It’s the holiday season! It’s that time of year that we all love and hate. We love the goodies, but hate the all weight we pack on.
We all have those once-a-year holiday favorites that we just can’t resist. And there’s the holiday coffee shop drinks (mmm…gingerbread latte!), holiday parties, family dinners, and the easy-to-grab travel foods. The list goes on and on!
However, November and December don’t have to be “pack-on-the-pounds” months. Instead, I will give you some tips to help you enjoy the holidays and stay healthy at the same time!
Achieving Holiday Balance
The key to not gaining 20 pounds over the next month or two is to balance your holiday treats with healthy eating and exercise. Decide which holiday treats are most important to you and which ones you can swap for healthier options – or skip altogether.
I completely understand if you want to enjoy a piece of your Mom’s delicious Christmas fudge that she only makes this one time each year! Go ahead and have a piece…or two! But make up for it with healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and don’t neglect your workouts.
Keep this sentiment in mind during the holiday season: “Giving up on your goal because of a setback is like slashing your other three tires because you got one flat.”
Just because you binged on gingerbread cookies or went nuts at the office Christmas party snack table doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel and write off the whole season!
Maybe losing weight over the holidays feels impossible. Okay, then make it a goal to NOT gain weight, and then lose the weight in January when the holiday goodies are gone.
Surviving The Big Holiday Feast
Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners are the two most calorie-packed meals we eat each year. Fortunately, we only have these feasts once per year, so try not to get anxious about it.
Through a combination of portion control and making familiar dishes with healthier, less calorie-dense ingredients, you’ll minimize the damage to your diet. (And don’t be afraid to just enjoy the holiday dinner, too!)
Here are 6 tips to make it though your family feast:
1. Eat Breakfast Before The Family Dinner: This is very important! I can’t stress this enough! If you try to save all your calories for the big dinner, you are going to be so hungry you will overeat and regret it later.
2. It’s A Special Meal, Not Your Last Meal Ever: Most people overeat on the holidays. You don’t need to go up for seconds or thirds just because it’s the holidays. It’s not your last meal, it’s just a special dinner. Take a reasonable amount of food and try to savor it. Chew your food, put your fork down between bites, take sips of water, chat with the family. Enjoy the experience of the meal.
3. Pick Your Favorite Holiday Treats: There are so many Christmas goodies, and some of us get accustomed to having them all every year. But this year, pick a couple that are your favorites and don’t buy the rest. You can also buy a package and then bring it to a party to share rather than having the whole box to yourself.
4. Gum Is Your Friend: A lot of us tend to graze while the meal is cooking, tasting this and that and enjoying hors d’oeuvres. If you ate breakfast, you shouldn’t be hungry, but if you are tempted to snack before the big feast, pop a piece of gum in your mouth until the food is ready.
5. Watch Your Adult Beverages: I know, adult drinks are delicious. Wine, beer, mixed drinks – they can be your five-extra-pound enemy. Mixed drinks can be tempting, but try to stick with red wine as it at least has health benefits like antioxidants. Try to savor one or two glasses and then stick to water the rest of the night.
6. Pick A Healthier Dessert: If your family is like mine, the dinner is just the first course. Next comes the array of desserts. Offer to make one of the healthier dessert options on this page (scroll down).
Eating Healthy While Traveling
Road Trips: Highway rest stops are notorious for being junk food havens, so the last thing you want is to be starving and cranky with hours left to drive and only a greasy fast food joint or gas station “food” for options.
So never put yourself in this position. Pack a cooler with some ice and a few green smoothies in sealed containers. You can also pack fresh fruits, carrot sticks, celery, cucumbers, peanut/almond butter, nuts, and other healthy snacks ready for you to grab when you need them.
You can also pack your blender, or get a travel sized blender (like a the NutriBullet Pro). While a roadside green smoothie may be out of the question, you can totally use your blender at your hotel, or wherever you’re staying.
Flying: Flying is a bit more tricky, and you are limited in what you can bring with you. You won’t be able to get your green smoothie through the TSA checkpoint. And you probably don’t want to toss bananas into your suit case. But you can pack a few snacks, and tuck a compact NutriBullet in your carry-on (I do this all the time).
Some larger airports have smoothie bars. Look for a Jamba Juice or similar establishment and ask for leafy green options, if they have any. Starbucks is great for more than just coffee and pastries. They actually have really good (and healthy) oatmeal! And many places sell a limited selection of fresh fruits and nuts. Or healthy soups.
Healthy Recipes For The Holiday Dinner Table:
Here are some of my favorite holiday recipes from Incredible Smoothies (don’t forget to try the special holiday smoothie recipes!)
Post-Holiday Recovery & Getting Back On Track!
I hope that the tips and recipes in this little guide help you have a healthier holiday season. The most important thing is to try to enjoy the season and not let stress get the better of you.
It’s okay to indulge once in a while, and the most important thing is to enjoy time with friends and family.
After the holidays, however, is a great time to reconnect to your health goals.
You can do this several ways.
1) Join one of my green smoothie challenges. Subscribe to my free e-mail newsletter and I’ll get you started with a free green smoothie-related challenge!
2) Do a 7-day green smoothie and whole food cleanse. My FreshLeap cleanse is a great way to get back on track and lose a few pounds.
3) If you have more than just a few extra pounds to lose, or you want to establish a healthy eating habit, then I invite you to join Reset 28.
Reset is my 28-day program for boosting energy and weight loss with green smoothies, whole foods, and a supportive online community. You can join anytime, and follow along with the upcoming Reset 28 Live Challenge that starts February 1st, 2017.
Have a happy holiday and a healthy new year!