Yes, it’s that time of year again. Festivities and food are everywhere. When you get together with friends and family around the holiday parties, they are full of appetizers and desserts that don’t fall into your diet and let’s not even talk about dinner!
It can be a real challenge to stay on target and resist the temptations to indulge in the fatty side of the holidays. It’s almost like the only way to ensure that you don’t gain weight this time of year is to just forego all the fun and get-togethers.
That shouldn’t be. Spending time with the ones you love is a very important part of life. So, how do you do both; partake in the fun without partaking of the indulgences?
This article will give you five simple ways to succeed in that endeavor. Here goes:
1. Eat Before You Go
You know you’re going to be bombarded with delicious goodies when you attend any holiday festivity. So, prepare beforehand. Before you walk into the battle between your willpower and your salivating tongue, armor up.
Eat a small, highly nutritious and filling meal before you leave the house. This helps you to be sensible in your eating choices. Sure, you might have to try Aunt Betty’s pecan pie, but you’ll have a small piece.
Why eat a small meal? Why not just fill right up before going? Two reasons:
-You will still want to eat some of the traditional holiday foods. It would be crazy not to! But, if you eat until you’re full, not only will you feel uncomfortable after eating more but you will be undoing all the good you did by eating healthy before you came. Eating a small meal will help you still be able to munch on some of your favorite foods but not to the detriment of your figure or your comfort.
-Going to a party and not eating could be considered rude. The last thing you want to do this time of year is cause friction or hurt someone’s feelings. I mean, how would Aunt Betty feel if you didn’t eat her pecan pie?
2. Be Selective in Your Indulgences
Similar to the first point, this one relies heavily on your own self-control, and a little bit of research.
Many of the holiday foods can be deceiving. Did you know that broccoli salad has 250 calories in a cup? Sure, broccoli would seem like a good choice but there’s heavy mayonnaise in that stuff.
Being knowledgeable in the common recipes of traditional holiday foods and the recipes that you are aware of your family being famous for can help you a lot in being selective in what you eat to keep your calorie intake low.
Another thing to try is to pick and choose which of your favorites you will have. You can tell yourself that you will allow a serving of your grandmother’s stuffing but no cake, one of those tiny little sausages but no fudge. Be wise in your choices and use good judgment. If you don’t trust your intuition, see number three.
3. Find a Healthy Food Wingman (or Woman)
Maybe your best friend, or wife, or husband, or anyone that you would listen to can be your healthy food wingman. Bring them with you. Explain your hopes to make wise food decisions this holiday season and ask for their help.
Keeping your nutrition in the right hands can go a long way. If those hands aren’t yours, delegate it to someone you trust. This person can be there and let you know when you are being a little too lenient on yourself.
Maybe they can even set your plate for you, making the decisions of what and how much to put on there. Granted, you need to be able to oblige by their decisions. Don’t fight it, appreciate it.
We can be our own worst enemies at times when it comes to doing what is best for us. Others who care and want the best for us too can help us to maybe not eat what we want to eat, but what we should eat.
4. Be the Host (or Hostess)
The easiest way to ensure that you have healthy food available with minimal temptations at a get together is to host that get together yourself. You can plan the menu including foods that are on the healthier side of the fence.
Don’t forget that some people will want to bring something to help. If they offer, you can steer them towards a healthier item but if they have something in mind that doesn’t meet your diet restrictions, that’s ok.
Remember, you hosted this dinner party and you’ll have a say in what about 75% of the foods will be. If you know there will be plenty of “helpers” that might bring some fatty or sugary foods with the best of intentions, just make your offerings are even healthier to balance things out.
Don’t think you can’t prepare a delicious holiday meal while keeping it healthy. There are plenty of recipes out there that have proved that idea wrong.
Food Network has a whole section of their website dedicated to this very thought. They have appetizers, side dishes, main dishes, and even drinks and desserts that can be served at a holiday party that is good for the waistline and the soul.
5. Start a Movement
Sometimes when you make the decision to eat healthier, you can feel like you’re in this fight alone. You can’t make everyone around you eat healthier too…or can you?
You never know how many people might actually be dreading the weight gain they know is coming this time of year. A good way to find out is to start a movement.
Compile an email list or set up a group Facebook page of friends and family that you normally see during the holidays. Put the idea out there that you would like to focus on healthy eating this holiday season for the benefit of all.
You might have a lot more backing in this than you would expect. You can share some ideas on how to make recipes healthier, which foods should be omitted, and of course be balanced.
Family members want to still share these memories with some of the traditions they remember around the kitchen table. You don’t want to be a food Hitler, but you can encourage all to prepare more nutritional dishes than the indulgent ones.
With a group effort, you can succeed in keeping all your loved ones in better health this year.
You can succeed in sticking with your nutritional goals this holiday season. These five easy methods of preventing the seemingly preventable weight gain this time of year can help. Let’s all start a movement and eat healthy this year so that we can ensure to enjoy many more years to come!