So much of the holiday season is centered around eating and it can be difficult to make healthy decisions when your days are ruled by food. Here are some tips to keep making healthy decisions during the holiday season!
1. Focus on the people not the food
This is the first on this list and definitely the most important. So much of our American holiday gatherings are centered around huge meals and endless desserts. Gathering around a table for a meal can be such good quality family time, and we often get so focused on the food that we forget about the people. If you are overwhelmed by the eating scene at holiday gatherings, remember that you're there to be with the people regardless of the food at the table. Your loved ones sitting around the table with you is what the holiday season is all about.
2. Drink water
While it's never a bad idea to have a few fun holiday drinks, drinking water while you do will always make you feel better. When we are dehydrated, we have more sugar cravings and it's a downhill spiral towards a sugar crash. Focus on drinking water with meals even if you do enjoy some sugary beverages in between.
3. Everything in moderation
What always helps me when it comes to eating my favorite seasonal meals during the holidays is everything in moderation. One of my favorite parts about holiday meals is the seasonal dishes that come along with them that we don't typically eat throughout the year. Pumpkin pie is a favorite of mine and it's always tempting to want to sit down and eat an entire pie (because trust me, I could). Letting ourselves have a little bit of all the foods we love is a great way to still enjoy holiday meals without feeling overstuffed afterward, or guilty for overindulging.
4. Don't starve yourself leading up to a meal
It's so easy to fall into the trap of not eating anything throughout the day knowing you have a big meal coming up later, but when we starve ourselves leading up to a big meal, we end up overeating too much at once. Pacing eating leading up to big holiday meals so that you're hungry and can enjoy, but aren't starving, can help with overeating.
5. Take a nap
There is nothing quite like a holiday nap next to the fireplace. We've all been there after a big meal when you feel that "food coma" effect. Instead of waiting to nap after a big meal, if you are feeling tired, take a nap between meals to restore your energy and calm your hunger. Our appetites reduce after a nap, leaving you with more energy to take on the holiday craziness and fewer cravings.
6. Move your body
The holidays are the busiest time of the year and between the hustle and bustle of family time, it can be easy to forget to practice self-care. Continuing to find time to move my body on holiday vacation, even if it's just a 30-minute walk, completely changes my mood and mindset for the day. Don't forget to take the time to move your body in a way that feels right for you.
7. Give yourself the permission to enjoy
Regimented eating is never the answer and the holidays are no different. You should never skip out on your favorite dishes just because you didn't get to work out that day (or week, or whatever you may be telling yourself). Give yourself permission to enjoy delicious foods during the holiday season (and all year long) without feeling guilty about it!
The holiday season doesn't have to be a stressful time when we can make healthy decisions in moderation and focus on the loved ones surrounding us at the table. I hope these tips make healthy eating during the holidays feel manageable and help you to enjoy all the delicious foods without the stress!