The holidays are a celebration of another year’s end, and all good celebrations come with good food. Holiday season celebration food is infamously some of the most delicious and some of the most unhealthy. Cakes, pies, cookies, candy canes, decadent dinners, special pancake breakfasts, and any other holiday food might taste amazing, but it is not the healthiest diet. If there is ever a time to indulge and splurge, it is undoubtedly the holidays, but there are ways that you can still enjoy the special food while also eating healthy. Here are some tips and tricks that will let you still enjoy all the holiday foods you want while keeping your diet as healthy as possible.
Why Bother With Moderation Or Balance
Some people might be asking why they should moderate or restrict their holiday food intake since this is a once a year event. It is entirely fair to indulge and enjoy your favorite holiday foods, but moderation and balance will ensure that you are not fighting an uphill battle once the holidays are over. Weight gain is not automatic, and it might take a few weeks to see the results of your holiday food comas. Extreme or sudden dietary changes can also negatively impact your body beyond weight gain. Candidiasis, sleep issues, skin problems, and more are all common issues that holiday binge eating can contribute to. Moderation and a balanced diet might not be fun, but it is a healthy and safe way to enjoy holiday food.
Practice Portion Control Rather Than Skipping Meals
No one wants to feel left out, and watching the people around you eat fancy food while you try to watch your diet is never a fun feeling. Instead of abstaining entirely or skipping meals to prepare for an unhealthy meal later, practice portion control and planning. You can still take part in a holiday snack tray if you only have a couple of pieces instead of a few handfuls. If you know you are going to have a heavy dinner, opt for a healthy and low carb lunch. Skipping meals and denying yourself any temptations are two extreme solutions that seldom work. Still, take a slice of cake, but a smaller one. Have a sampling of all the sides rather than full servings of each one. Portion control and moderation take willpower, but it is entirely doable.
Mind Your Drinks
Many people overlook the calories, sugar, and other ingredients in drinks. A sugary soda might not feel like much food because you are drinking rather than chewing, but drinks add up too. Don’t forget to factor in drinks when you go to a holiday celebration. Festive cocktails are delicious but can also make an unhealthy dinner even more unhealthy. The same rules of moderation, balance, and portion control apply to drinks. Enjoy yourself, but be aware of how much you are eating and drinking because drinks count as part of your overall diet.
Filled, But Not Stuffed
When we see exceptional holiday food in front of us, it can be easy to eat until we are stuffed, but you should stop eating when you are full, not stuffed. Even if you have prepared for this dinner by eating healthy all day, eating more than is comfortable is still a bad idea. Leftovers or a doggy bag are perfect ways to enjoy the same holiday food later without stuffing yourself right now. If you do find yourself properly stuffed and in a food coma after a meal, don’t beat yourself up about it too much. Remember that this is still meant to be a happy celebration, and overindulgence is not the end of the world, but make a note of the overstuffed feeling, so you remember not to overeat next time.
After a long day and a big meal, all you want to do is sink into the couch and relax. Instead of sitting down and relaxing, go for a walk after dinner. A study from 2016 found that type 2 diabetics who took a 10-minute walk after dinner had better control of their blood sugar levels. Walking after dinner was even found to be the most effective time for a short walk. Exercise does not need to mean an hour of hard work and sweat. A simple 10-minute walk after dinner can make a difference and get your body used to regular movement. Make the walk a family event where the whole household goes on a nightly walk during the holidays.
The holiday season is often packed with delicious and limited time foods. Eating healthy during the holidays is hard, but you don’t have to exclude yourself from every holiday treat. Practice portion control, moderation, and balance so you can enjoy the holiday food without ruining your healthy diet. Also, watch how many drinks you have as those count towards your diet too. Enjoy your food until you are full but not stuffed, and then take an after-dinner walk, so you have every chance to come out of the holidays healthier than ever.
About the author:
Naomi Shaw is a freelance journalist residing in sunny Southern California with her husband and three children. She is a work-at-home mom that enjoys writing on fashion, beauty, jewelry, and everything weddings!