How to Eat Healthy Throughout the Holiday Season

by Alli

The holidays are a wonderful time of year when you get to spend time with friends and family free from workplace worries. However, studies show that on average, Americans gain up to two pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you’re interested in fending off the extra weight this holiday season, here are some tips to help you stay on track with your eating goals.

How to Eat Healthy Throughout the Holidays

Snack Ahead of Time

If you show up to a party when you haven’t eaten in several hours, you’re more likely to indulge in a large variety of high-calorie food and drinks. About an hour before you’re ready to leave, snack on something that contains both protein and fiber, like a cup of Greek yogurt topped with chia seeds and raspberries.

Splurge Wisely

At holiday parties, there are likely to be run of the mill foods like potato chips and store-bought dip among the truly special homemade goodies. Try to avoid eating empty calories that are easily obtained at the store, and opt for something delicious and homemade instead. You’ll enjoy it more, and if you’re having a craving for chips later, you can easily get them from the store.

Bring Healthy Recipes

If it’s your turn to bring a dish to a holiday party, try creating a healthy recipe. Traditional party foods can still taste great without the extra fat and calories. For example, if you’d like to bring a pasta or potato salad, try replacing the mayo with Hampton Creek eggless mayo. For more inspiration on healthy recipes, visit their Facebook page.

Fill Up on Fruits and Veggies

Eat Healthy Throughout the Holiday Season

Even if you have your eye on a Pinterest-worthy dessert, fill up at least some of your plate with fruits and veggies, if possible. A few carrot sticks with a dollop of low-fat dip and a helping of fruit salad will help keep you full, so you won’t be tempted to stock your plate with everything at the buffet table.

Avoid Excessive Alcohol Consumption

Holiday parties are known for letting the drinks flow freely. While it’s a party and it’s expected that you’ll splurge a little, try your best to limit yourself to just a few drinks. The calories in alcoholic beverages quickly add up, and once you’re feeling buzzed, it gets harder to control your urges to snack. Limit yourself to a glass of champagne or two to stay in control throughout the night.

Spend Time Moving

If you’re at a big holiday party that has a dance floor, take advantage of the opportunity to get moving and burn off some of those calories. If you really get going, it’s possible to burn upwards of 200 calories in less than an hour!

Pick a Strategic Spot

If you know you’ll be tempted to re-fill your plate repeatedly if you hang around near the food table, grab your friends and go to a spot where you’re not able to see the food. Out of sight, out of mind is more effective than you might think.

Stay Hydrated

Eat Healthy

After spending a few hours chatting with friends, eating delicious snacks, and maybe enjoying a few glasses of wine, it’s important to stay hydrated. It’s advisable to drink a glass of water before you even arrive at the party, but make sure to drink a glass of water every hour to stay full and clear-headed.

After the Holiday Party

After you’ve had a great time at the holiday party, you can recover by drinking a big glass of water once you get home and having a good night’s sleep. When you wake up in the morning, drink a warm mug of water with lemon juice to support healthy digestive function and eat a fibrous breakfast like oatmeal with flax seeds. If possible, try to go for a 30-minute walk to get yourself back into a committed mindset.

Stay on Track

Even if your schedule is packed with multiple parties to attend, it’s important to stay on track between each one. It’s okay to splurge occasionally, especially during the holidays, but to reach your goals you need to stay consistent. For best results, continue to eat a healthy diet and establish an exercise routine that you enjoy.

In conjunction with healthy eating and adequate exercise, follow the above tips to successfully navigate the tricky situations that come with holiday parties. Most importantly, remember that it’s okay to splurge every once in a while, and forgive yourself and quickly move on after you’ve had a “cheat day.”