Oh yay! The Holidays are here! Insert sarcasm and fake enthusiasm>here<. Whether you are a fan or not of the festivities happening during this time of year, chances are at the very least, you’re down to get your grub on! But what about all the hard work you put it in all year getting your healthy lifestyle together? It would be a shame to throw caution to the wind let all those great healthy habits you’ve adopted into your everyday lifestyle go to waist. (See what I did there?) Have no fear! I have 7 magical tips to help you stay on track and avoid having to let that belt buckle out after dinner. You’re on your own when it comes to dealing with your drunk Uncle, though. Sorry.
#1 Stay hydrated! This is a rule of thumb for everyday life; the more hydrated you are, the less likely you’ll be to crave sugary treats or overeat in general. Drink water before and during meals to 1- feel full before eating, and 2-keep digestion at optimal levels so the food you do eat moves through you consistently. The water should be room temperature if you can stand it; cold water slows digestion by restricting blood vessels and therefore prohibiting successful digestion. Not to mention that drinking your calories is a huge contributor to weight gain, and something we don’t even realize we’re doing. Drink water or hot tea instead, and save the juice/soda/eggnog/alcohol for dessert if you must have it. You can even get sparkling water and add some fruit for a more festive feel so you don’t feel like you’re being punished. (cry-baby)
#2 Portion Control. I know I know, it’s a holiday, screw portions! Yeah, well, screw that 6-pack that was just about to come through, too, right? I thought not. Portion control tips make it easy not to over indulge, but still gives you the option and opportunity to enjoy all the foods you really love, minus the guilt. (and bloat) Moderation is KEY. It’s not about restricting, it’s about mindfulness and self-control. You have some of that, right? Good! Use smaller plates if available, if not, one (reasonable) scoop of each dish should be just about right.
#3 Snack SMART It’s easy to get distracted by family, friends and football and just go overboard on the chips and dip and all the cheesy things. But DON’T. (I know, I know I sound like ya mama) Snack on fresh veggies and fruit FIRST; you can go overboard on the fresh stuff, and then be too full to indulge in the pie. Or at least too much of it. :)
#4 Don’t Go Back for Seconds. Well, not right away, anyway. Chill, man. Take time to digest. It takes people a while to realize when they’re full. I know you really want more of those sweet potatoes, but I bet if you just sit a while, you will realize you are more satiated than you thought you were. If you do opt for seconds, only go for what you LOVED, not just liked.
#5 Bring Your Own Dish. Make your dish(es) the “healthy one(s)”. So you at least know you can eat your whole pan if all else fails :)
#6 Go for COLOR. Those heirloom carrots aren’t just pretty to look at, they are packed with essential nutrients and vitamins. Squash, sweet potato, carrots, pumpkin, greens, whatever. The more color, the mo betta! #7 Don’t Be a Couch (mashed) Potato. Don’t stuff your face then lay down to watch the game or just relax. Stay standing for awhile, go for a walk if possible. Give your body the best opportunity to digest properly. Just Sitting upright is ok, too. Play with the kids a bit outside if weather permits. If not, a little wrestling in the family room will do. (watch out for the chokehold, there’s no getting out of that)
If we’re being honest, and I know no other way to be, these tips should be standard in your everyday life, not just the holidays. If you really want to have a healthy holiday meal, skip anything deep fried, covered in buttery/fatty gravy or cheese, and pork. Of course, moderation and physical activity can help, but those foods have nothing but cellulite and a muffin top in mind for your future. Trust me, your cholesterol levels will thank me later. :) Here is a great list of Plant Based Holiday Recipes that anyone can incorporate into their normal spread! Happy Holidays to you and the Fam!
Love&Light, Bougie Hippie