Staying Healthy over the Holidays

The holidays are here and with all the celebration sometimes we forget about the healthy eating habits we’ve been developing all year. So to help you get back on track, we thought we’d share a few tips to help you prevent unwanted holiday weight gain.

1. Ruin your appetite – some people think that starving yourself all day is the perfect way to save calories  so that you can eat at the christmas party, however, research shows that if you put yourself in starvation mode during the day you are more likely to overeat when you do get food. The best way to prevent over eating is to eat healthy during the day and have a small snack about an hour before you go to your party. The best snack will include some protein and some carbohydrate, try a bowl of plain Greek yogurt with berries or other fruit, or an boiled egg with carrot sticks or hummus with 4 whole grain crackers. If you don’t arrive to the party famished you will have the opportunity to take the time to carefully choose the foods you want to try.

Which brings me to my next point…

2. Be Choosy – when you go to a buffet don’t think that you need to try everything on the buffet table. It’s ok to stand back and examine the table so that you can decide what you really want to eat. And if you don’t like it, don’t eat it!

3. Limit Alcohol – we know this one might be a tough one but keep in mind that alcohol is filled with empty calories that can add up really quickly (a glass of wine can be around 105 calories). Also alcohol impedes judgment and increases appetite so you are more likely to overeat. If you do want to drink choose wine or hard alcohol mixed with club soda and avoid sugary drinks, especially the egg nog which can average at a whopping 400 calories per serving. You can also try plain sparkling water with a few cranberries and a lime wedge, this way you get a fancy drink that is calorie free!

4.Use a Smaller Plate – studies have shown that we like to finish everything on our plates and that we judge our fullness ques by the amount left on our plate. So to help you listen to your fullness ques grab a dessert or appetizer plate and use it as your dinner plate. You can fill it so you still feel like you’re getting a large portion but you will actually be eating less.

5. Don’t Hover Around the Buffet Table – once you’ve grabbed your share, walk away from the kitchen or the buffet table and have a seat on the couch so that you can savour each bite. Try to stay away from the table to prevent added temptation once you’re already full

6. Make Time for a Workout – it’s easy to get busy over the holidays and forget about your regular workout routine. Try to make time for at least a quick 20 minute workout if you’re too busy between work and parties and baking and wrapping presents and…well you get the idea. Some activity is better than no activity so fit in whatever you can.

7. Bring a Vegetable – if you’ve been invited to a party, bring a plate of vegetables or a salad; if you’re the host make sure you at least provide guests with one or two vegetable options. This way you can be sure there is some fibre and nutrients among the other holiday treats.

And the most important thing to remember is:

8. DON’T GET DOWN ON YOURSELF – everyone overeats at at least one point over the holidays, there is a lot of temptation out there! What you should remember is that it’s what you do most of the time that really matters. So if you indulge at your grandma’s Christmas dinner because she makes the best pumpkin pie in the world, remember that the next day and try to eat more vegetables and fruit and avoid dessert. Or better yet add an extra 15 minutes to your workout routine. Even a 15 minute walk can help increase your digestion and bring down your blood sugars after a large meal.

The holiday season is not a time to start a weight loss or diet plan because you will be miserable if you’re munching on carrot sticks while everyone else is going in for their second helping of mashed potatoes and stuffing. Be mindful when you’re eating and really listen to your body to prevent overeating. And most of all: enjoy every bite, and it will be totally worth it 🙂

Even though the holiday season brings delicious food, there are also a lot of other things you can enjoy like outdoor skating, outdoor lights festivals, walks in the snow (well maybe not so much in Vancouver); so try to plan around these events and save the food events for really special occasions like Christmas Day.



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