The holidays are notorious for making it hard to stick with fitness goals, thanks to sugar-rich desserts, cream-filled casseroles, and general overindulgence. Want to make sure that by the time January rolls around you aren’t struggling to button your pants? Worry no more, I’ve got five fail-proof easy tricks for you!
1. Drink Your H20
Around the holidays, a lot of people consume huge amounts of empty calories simply in what they are drinking (think eggnog and other creamy concoctions). On top of that, times like Thanksgiving and Christmas seem to be an excuse to drink more than usual. Alcohol is full of simple carbs that will cause your blood sugar to spike, and on top of that it lowers your inhibitions, so that slice of cherry cheesecake you would have resisted an hour ago suddenly seems like an acceptable choice. Stay hydrated-pass up the eggnogs, coffees, and sparkling juices in favor of water, flavored with lemon or lime if you need a little something extra. If you are going to drink, do so in moderation and choose the clear liquors. Avoid mixers like juices or sodas that add extra sugars. Your best friend if you are going to drink is going to be a vodka tonic with lime.
2. Avoid the Casserole!!!
Just because a dish has vegetables in it does not mean that it is a healthy choice, and casseroles are notorious for sounding healthy yet being anything but. Take green bean casserole, for example. Made with cream of mushroom soup, butter, milk, and fried onion straws, there is nothing in this dish that is going to aid you in getting to your fitness goals. Yet another example of vegetable trickery is the classic sweet potato casserole. Just because it’s made with sweet potato does not mean that it’s a great choice, or that you should have 12345850500 servings of it. Loaded with butter, brown sugar, and of course, marshmallows, your body will thank you later by avoiding it. You are going to be much happier with a lighter, less rich dish at the end of the day.
3. Offer to Help Cook or Bring a Dish
If you are not hosting at your place, this means that to a certain extent, you are at the mercy of whomever it is that is doing the cooking. Offering to help cook gives you some control over the foods that will be on the table (at least you will have an idea of what is in them) and bringing a dish allows you to ensure that there will be at least ONE thing that is totally palatable and healthy. A gorgeous green salad with spinach, spring mix, and chard, sprinkled with dried cranberries and clementines, dressed simply with fresh herbs, olive or walnut oil, and balsamic is not only festive looking, it’s delicious and healthy as well. Pair it with some lean protein, if available, and you are set!
4. Eat Slowly
I for one am totally at fault when it comes to eating way too fast. As a mom, I feel like I have to inhale all of my food within sixty seconds because I never know when my daughter is going to want me to get up, to play, or to nurse. The problem with eating at a rapid-fire pace is that our stomachs take time though to communicate that we feel full, even if we already are. So, by eating slower, we allow our bodies the chance to signal that we are satiated without overeating.
5. Control Your Portions
Our eyes are almost always larger than our stomachs. Using a smaller plate tricks the eyes into seeing more food than you would see on a large plate, even if the portion is the same. Our country as a whole has issues with portion control, so being mindful of not just the type of food you are putting in your body but the portion as well is really important. Go for quality versus quantity. Aim for plant-based and protein-rich foods so that you don’t end up binging on sugar later on. Protein and fiber will keep you fuller longer and will help to curb cravings.
What other ways do you avoid the holiday gain? I love hearing about what you guys to do stay in shape!