Written by Alyssa Lam for Nest Integrative Wellness
The holidays are quickly approaching! As always, the holidays come with delicious food. This can be an exciting time, but also a time of stress for people who want to avoid over-eating. Suddenly you find yourself surrounded by temptations, whether it be treats at work, cookies brought over by a friend, party buffets and, of course, family dinners. Believe it or not, it is possible to eat healthy over the holidays and still enjoy yourself.
It can be a challenge, so don’t rely solely on your self-control to get youthrough. Consider making a healthy eating goal to stick to until January. Make your goal SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time sensitive). That way you can know when you’ve achieved your goal and it’s something that fits your lifestyle, budget, time, and diet. Here are a few tips to get you started on a goal:
Try eating slow and savour your food. Your brain needs time to register that your stomach is full, so eating fast can lead to over-eating. Savour each bite, enjoy each bite slowly, and try putting your fork or chop sticks down between bites.
Fill half your plate with vegetables. The good news is that vegetable side dishes are usually delicious when it comes to the holidays, and vegetables are naturally lower in calories. Vegetables also have fibre, which helps you to feel full.
Take a smaller plate. Using a smaller plate can sometimes trick your brain into eating less.
Think before you eat. Before you take second helpings, wait 20 minutes, and then ask yourself: “I still hungry?” If the answer is yes, go for it. If the answer is no, then it’s up to you to decide whether that second helping is worth it!
Don’t sit next to the food table. Force yourself to get up and move if you want more. This increases awareness of your actions and gives you time to think before you eat.
Indulge in your favourites! Don’t waste your time and calories on food that you don’t love. Pick a few favourite desserts or sides and eat those without guilt. For me, this means skipping out on cheap foil-wrapped chocolates and going for the more satisfying, better-quality chocolate.
Limit the sugary drinks. If you want to reduce your sugar intake and avoid having too many calories, this might be the best tip! Choose diet options of pop, dilute your punch with water, order your favourite holiday coffee “half sweet” and make water your drink of choice.
Watch the alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are not required to have nutrition labels so it’s easy to overlook them. Alcohol itself has calories, and when you add a sugary mix in, it adds up fast. Instead, go for light options or use sugar-free mix in your cocktails.
Trust your body and don’t stress too much. Food should be enjoyable, provide comfort, and taste delicious at the holidays. Trust your body to compensate for the occasional slip-up.