Let’s face it. Many of us just accept the fact that the Holidays are full of food temptation and challenging social situations. We tell ourselves that we’re going to feel stressed and gain weight. We do this knowing full well that come January 1, we’re going to regret it, resolve to do better, and lose the holiday pounds.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! Maybe you’ve been working hard all year at making healthy lifestyle changes. Maybe you’ve been wanting to start. You don’t have to take steps backward OR wait until the New Year to start making wise choices for your health and well-being.
Whether you’re going to a posh office dinner party, attending your best friend’s holiday gathering or avoiding your mother-in-law’s watchful eye as she looks to see if you’re eating her candied sweet potatoes with marshmallows and her gooey Christmas candies; the Holidays become a landmine of temptation.
And whether you’re simply trying to make healthy food choices or you have food allergies or sensitivities, it can be really difficult if you feel like you have to explain or justify your choices everywhere you go.
While I can’t come with you to the party, I can give you my tried and true tips for managing holiday temptation and stress. I hope these 6 tips, and the others that follow over the next few days, will help YOU stay strong through the Holidays!
Holiday Food Survival Tips
Eat Frequently: Don’t skip breakfast. In fact, don’t skip any meals. Not even to “save up” for the big party in the evening. That just sets you up for hunger, cravings, and blood sugar swings. You don’t eat, your blood sugar drops. You’re ravenous. You’ll eat anything that’s not tied down. So you grab that hamburger, fries and a shake. Or maybe you’re a little more stealth than that. You grab a pumpkin cream cheese muffin and a skinny soy latte from your favorite coffee shop. It’s healthy…right? Your sugar goes sky high in no time and a couple hours later it’s down in the tank and you’re craving sugar again. You don’t want to arrive at a holiday party like that, right?
Prevent this by eating every 4 hours. Be sure that you’re filling up with a small meal or snack that includes lean protein, healthy fats, and slow-sugar-release starches or fiber. Think (good) protein, fat, and fiber with every meal or snack. Try a small handful of almonds or cashews for a snack. No time for a meal? Throw some unsweetened coconut milk, berries, half a banana, 1 scoop of protein power, 2 T of ground flax seed and some spinach leaves in your blender and you’ve got a quick, complete meal! Put it in a thermos and take it to work.
Drink and Be Hydrated: Drink half your body weight in water ounces each day. If you weigh 140 pounds, drink 70 ounces of water each day. Yes, this will help with hunger and cravings, not to mention digestion. Becoming dehydrated can also can lead to fatigue and headaches. So drink up! Get a snazzy water bottle and carry it with you throughout the day. Don’t like the taste of water? Make a pitcher of infused water the night before. Add your favorite fruits or veggies and let them steep in the water all night. I like a mix of berries, or lemon, lime, cucumber and mint leaves. Put in whatever you like!
Eat, Drink and Be Mindful: Chew your food slowly. Enjoy every bit. Savor it. Chewing your food aids digestion by allowing digestive enzymes in your saliva to do their job. This is a good thing, especially if you have any sort of digestive discomforts. By slowing down, you’ll probably also eat less since it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to register with your brain that it’s full. And while you’re at it, give yourself the gift of a sit-down meal. Whether you’re at work or at home, sit down at the table and focus on your meal. You get bonus points if you can round up the whole family and enjoy it together!
Keep Your “Stash” in Good Supply: Hang around me long enough and you’ll hear me say to always have “emergency packs” squirreled away in your desk drawer, your car, your brief case… wherever your might be tempted or in a hurry and without a healthy food choice. Include snacks like nuts and seeds, Wholly Guacamole packs and veggies, natural meat jerky, nut butter packets and an apple, or a whole-food bar like Larabar, GoRaw or Kind. Because it’s the holidays and the temptations are strong, make sure your emergency packs have something new and special that you’ll be really excited to eat.
Double Shakes on Party Day: Remember, I said don’t skip meals to “save up for the party?” Nope, not giving you a pass on that. But, if it’s a big party and you know you’re going to indulge, what you CAN do is make it a double shake day. Remember that smoothie you could mix up in the blender? Have one for breakfast and another one at lunch. Snack smart, if you need to (lean protein, good fat, and fiber). Enjoy the party that night. Notice, I didn’t say go hog-wild. 🙂
Coming up next in the series… Thrive thru the holidays: at the office party or family gathering.