Christmas is that time of year where it can be more difficult than others to stick to eating healthy. With parties, festivities, and traditions mostly centered on an abundance of delicious treats, snacks, and meals, it’s difficult not to overindulge. While we can’t always escape the temptations and can’t always keep ourselves from being surrounded by unhealthy choices, there are things we can do this holiday season to eat healthy.
Here are a few tips or ideas to help you stick to healthy eating, even during this tempting season:
1. When going to a party or gathering, bring a nutritious but festive dish to share. Something like a salad, a veggie platter, a fruit salad, or healthy homemade snacks. This ensures that there is at least something healthy to eat.
2. Never leave the house without a healthy snack. When you know you’ll be out and about Christmas shopping, running errands, or going to festivities, plan ahead and take some good options along. This way, if you can’t find any healthy option, you don’t starve and give in to the temptations. Things such as homemade energy balls or bars, low-sugar trail mix, fruit and cheese, or veggies and hummus can make for great, and filling, snacks.
3. Make a balanced and healthy breakfast on Christmas Day. Include some fresh fruit and healthy protein. Making a yummy breakfast Christmas morning can be healthy and fun, like whole grain pancakes shaped as a reindeer face. This can be a great way all around to enjoy and look forward to healthy foods.
4. Load up your plate with healthy, nutritious options first. Not everyone is going to completely abstain from any and all sweets and festive foods during the holidays. This will dull your hunger and appetite so you are less likely to overeat the bad stuff! This is also a good time to practice portion control, especially when it comes to the desserts and high-sugar drinks.
5. Instead of dessert, have a cup of herbal tea prior to eating the sweets. The tea will help make you feel full and less likely to scarf down the treats, while also providing some antioxidants.
6. Set goals for yourself and have a support system. Having a friend or family member to set goals with can be a great way to stay motivated and accountable during this particularly tempting time. Make goals like maintaining your workout schedule or avoiding processed sugar during the holidays. Having a friend working towards a goal with you helps you stay focused and on track.
7. Exercise. Keeping on track with your normal exercise routine is especially difficult with the extra business around the holidays. Making it a priority to exercise regularly this time of year not only helps you stay on track, but also helps decrease your appetite for junk food.
8. Don’t keep tempting things around the house. Friends and neighbors commonly deliver sweets and treats during this time of year, and while we all genuinely appreciate the sincere gesture of friendship and kindness, keeping and eating all the cookies and treats delivered to you doesn’t do you any good! If necessary, take a bite or two, but toss the rest (or maybe re-gift it) so it’s not there tempting you to indulge.
9. Drink plenty of water. Make sure, as you go throughout your day, you are sufficiently hydrated. Even slight dehydration can trick us into thinking we’re hungry, and, therefore, we are more likely to overeat and give in to those treats.
10. Don’t be afraid to say no. If you know you’ll be going to a party or event that won’t offer any nutritious options, eat before you go. This way you won’t have to turn to the high sugar, high calorie, high fat foods that don’t promote health and fitness.
Always remember that your health is up to you! There are a multitude of ideas and tips on resources such as Pinterest to help make your favorite dishes and snacks healthier but still fun and festive. Try to branch out this year and do a healthy makeover of your favorite traditional holiday goodies so you’re not left feeling overweight or unhealthy after the season is over.
Make it a great Christmas Season!
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Dr. Brian Hester, originally from Alabama, graduated from Life University in 1999 with his Doctorate of Chiropractic. He moved to Anthem, Arizona in 2003 and opened his wellness center. Dr. Hester's mission is to provide people in the North Phoenix area, with the tools they need to identify stressors in their life and the underlying causes of their health challenges. With Dr. Hester as a health partner, patients can make positive lifestyle changes and take control of their lives...... see more
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