The holidays can be tricky to navigate! With the cooler temperatures and comfort foods, it can be easy to move less and eat more. This year, don’t fall into the vicious cycle of gaining weight during those winter months. And no, I’m going to tell you to skip your grandma’s stuffing or your mom’s Christmas cookies. The holidays are a time to celebrate with family and loved ones. That means not only enjoying their company, but the food as well! This year think about trying some new traditions or incorporate a few healthy habits to avoid gaining those extra pounds.
1. When we think about the holidays, most of us tend to focus on the actual Thanksgiving or Christmas meal. But what about the meals we eat leading up to “the last supper”? If you want to splurge on that big meal, make all of your other meals throughout the week and the day of balanced and nutritious. I advise against eating less or skipping meals to make room for the feast. By going into the meal famished you’re more likely to overeat. Instead, eat regularly and try not to change too much about your diet before the big meal. You can still enjoy all the foods you love, but you’re less likely to go back for seconds if you’re your already satisfied.
2. The holidays are all about celebrating! Why not spend some quality time with your friends and stay on top of your diet by doing a soup exchange. Get the girls together and swap some soups to help you stay on track for at least one meal a week. Some of my favorite soups to exchange are butter squash, chicken tortilla, and black bean. Just bring all the ingredients and get cooking! Some of these soups can be made in crockpots if you’re running low on space. Once the soups are ready, just place them in mason jars and they are ready to go for the week.
3. The colder weather might throw a kink in your workout plans especially if working out indoors isn’t your jam. The holidays are a great time to switch things up and try something new. Maybe you’ve always wanted to try pilates, but never had the time. Now is the time! Use the buddy system to help hold you accountable to making it to the gym. If you don’t like working out with people, but you need that accountability I suggest buying a package for classes or personal training. If you pay for it and you schedule it, chances are your not going to want to waste your money.
4. Holiday parties are never ending and most likely include alcohol. Try to swap out those sugary holiday cocktails for something with a little fewer calories. Typically liquor is lower in calories than wine or beer. Feeling festive? Maybe add some diet ginger ale to flavored vodka or choose the glass of champagne over wine to save on some calories.
Katie Hoehn, MA, RDN, LD, ACE-PT