One of the biggest challenges is getting through the holidays healthfully. I am not a proponent of cutting out all splurging between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, as I don’t think it’s realistic to do. Any time I have tried, about one week in, I give up, and then go overboard in consuming as many cookies as I can get my hands on.
There are so many options around the holidays between dinners, parties, seasonal lattes, cocktails, and the dozens of cookies, cakes and other baked goods that people bring into the workplace.
The key to successfully navigating through it all is making smart choices.
Here are my tips for keeping a healthy balance during the holidays:
Start each day with a healthy, protein-based breakfast.
Most of the goodies around the holidays are carb-based, so by eating something like a spinach and egg-white omelet in the morning, you are getting in the protein that you need to fill you up and energize you for the day. I am also a fan of Christina’s Berry Yogurt Breakfast Smoothie.
Limit the amount of parties and events that you go to.
Keeping your schedule under control will not only keep you away from overindulging too often, but it will also provide you with much needed down time. Give yourself some time to be home, relax, and watch your favorite holiday movie, taking a little break from the craziness.
Treat yo’self, but plan it.
When faced with those tempting cookies in the office, think about what other plans you have for the week. Is there another night where you are going to a cocktail party with amazing appetizers? Or a day you are going to brunch with friends and getting gingerbread pancakes that make your eyes roll back? It makes it easier to skip the so-so cookie when you know you have a better treat coming to you later in the week.
Lighten or limit the lattes.
Have a holiday latte you like? Get it with skim or soy milk, or get it less frequently. I often find that the holiday lattes end up making me feel groggy anyway, so normally I get my favorite once during the season, so that I feel like I got my fix. So don’t deprive yourself but find ways to space them out, or make them healthier (many are available as sugar-free now).
Eat at home when you can.
Plan your meals for the week and do all your grocery shopping in one trip. Make sure to load up on lean protein and veggies. Ever feel hungry beyond belief after overdoing it on cookies? It’s because your body is hungry for the nutrients it needs. Cooking at home and focusing on the food groups you are missing will help keep you full and your body happy. Sites like Skinnytaste have lighter versions of higher-calorie items, so you can still get all the flavor, while keeping it healthy.
Stick to the basics.
Drink plenty of water, rest when you can, and maintain some semblance of an exercise routine. The holidays are a busy time, and the more run down and dehydrated you get, the worse you feel. There is a reason every nutrition plan includes this trifecta – because they work. So, remember to keep them as part of your routine all year round.
“But what about parties? How do I survive those?” Keep an eye out for an upcoming post where I will give you some quick tips on holiday parties.
What tips do you have that help you to splurge responsibly during the holidays? Share them in the comments below.