The holiday season is a wonderful time for getting together with friends and family while keeping up old traditions and introducing new ones. Many of those traditions have to do with what we eat, but it can feel as though healthy holiday meals are few and far between. From fatty and salty dishes to sweet treats and evening cocktails, it can be a lot of fun until we get on the scale and see what damage has been done.
The key to getting healthy holiday meals right is not to try to scrap everything you’ve always loved every year. Instead, it is a matter of being reasonable about your portions and being especially careful about what you’re eating when you aren’t out celebrating. After all, even people who are very good at keeping on track for the rest of the year can struggle to stop themselves from having some of their favorites when the holidays rolls around. Instead of making yourself miserable and risking a huge binge when you finally give up; use the following tips to help to keep yourself closer to where you should be.
To start, keep in mind that healthy holiday meals can be a lot of fun and can create a lot of new traditions. You know that the turkey and all the trimmings are happening on Thanksgiving no matter what. You know that you’ll be going to a number of different celebrations leading up to December 25, and even continuing to the New Year party, but there will be many meals in between that will give you room to make healthful choices. Load up your fridge with lots of nutritionally dense foods like fruits, veggies and dark leafy greens, as well as whole grain foods and lean proteins. When they’re already in your kitchen, you’ll be more likely to actually use them in your meals.
This is especially true when you limit the junk foods and sweets that you keep in your kitchen, aside from anything you will be serving for holiday celebrations. That way, you won’t have any choice but to use the healthful options because that’s what’s there.
When you do sit down to meals that are focused more on fun and tradition than nutritional density, use the following to help yourself to avoid guilt trips later on:
Take a small helping of everything. Instead of making a mountain of food, make sure that you get a few great bites of all the different flavors. You really don’t need anything more than that.
Eat what you love. Don’t just stuff yourself with food because it was offered. Be selective and choose the foods you love the most. That way, you can have a little more of those dishes without wasting fats, calories and carbs on things you’re iffy about.
Don’t wear loose clothing. You don’t need to wear uncomfortably tight clothes, but if you wear something snug, then as you eat, your body will start to become less comfortable in what you’re wearing. At that point, you’ll be more likely to stop.