- Step up your mindfulness – often around the holidays, our awareness of the foods we eat goes out the window. Instead, we succumb to the temptations around us, and put healthy eating off for January. That is why we often see weight gain of 5lbs or more in Americans just through the 6 week period of Thanksgiving to New Years. Don’t let this be you! While enjoying the holidays and family time, keep your health goals in mind and work to make better choices whenever possible. This will help you to maintain your waistline and stay the course in your health.
- Don’t go back for seconds – portion control is an important piece to weight loss and maintenance at any time of year, but with so many extra, calorie rich foods around the holidays, being aware of your portions can make all the difference.
- Have fun with substitutions – when preparing your favorite holiday recipes, give yourself and your family the fun challenge of modifying those recipes to make them healthier! Consider substituting whole wheat flour for white, or adding more vegetables to your classics. You can also try cutting back on sugar in desserts or adding more spices to recipes instead of salt! During our recent WellCats cooking classes, we themed our recipes to Modifying Favorite Recipes and did just that. Check out our Healthy Green Bean Casserole. It was a huge hit with our attendees and a lower fat version of a classic staple during the holidays!
- If you don’t love it, leave it – it is not uncommon around the holidays to feel pressured to eat calorie rich foods we don’t really enjoy. Where indulging with your favorites in moderation is ok, increasing your daily calories for foods you feel obligated to eat is a waste that can add unwanted pounds. So, if fruit cake or grandma’s pecan pie isn’t your favorite, don’t waste a splurge on it. Instead, save those extra calorie splurges for when it’s something you really want and can enjoy!
- Keep it out of the house – a challenge for many of us through the holidays is dealing with food gifting. While sharing food is a wonderful way we celebrate friendships and family, bringing lots of holiday treats home is a way to guarantee you overeat them. Instead of bringing home treats consider sharing them with coworkers, donating goods to churches or shelters, re-gifting, using what you can for compost, or even tossing extra treats to avoid the unwanted calories.
- Keep moving – often during the holidays we forget about our exercise routines. This season, work to keep your normal activity schedule. One helpful way to keep up your exercise is to do it as a family. After holiday feasts go for a walk together or play activity games in the back yard. Also, for extra motivation, enlist the help of Fitbits and Apple Watches, which also make fantastic gifts that keep on giving!
Navigating the Holiday Calorie Jungle
Getting through the holidays can often feel like a daunting task. Especially when it comes to eating healthy. This time of year is when we are at high risk for putting on extra weight that stays with us long term. When thinking about your weight and health through the holiday season, try to emphasize weight maintenance rather than weight loss. This will help you stay focused on your health goals while also carving some space to enjoy your favorite holiday pleasures in moderation.
RECIPE! Winter Squash Soup