Learn how to curb the cravings and stick to a healthy-eating plan while still enjoying some of your favorite seasonal staples.
This year, as you gather with friends, family and coworkers to celebrate, remember that moderation is key. You can still nosh on delicious treats guilt-free as long as you remember to stay active and incorporate healthy-eating habits.
Here are some tips for not blowing your diet during the holiday season.
Don’t show up to a party on an empty stomach.
Some people try fasting or limiting their food intake ahead of the holiday party because they anticipate they will be splurging on sugar-riddled dishes. While that’s a good idea in theory, it’s actually better to eat a nutritious meal ahead of the party.
Eating a healthy meal before you leave home will give you the energy you need to socialize, walk around, stand for long periods of time, or dance and play with your favorite people. And you’ll be less likely to overindulge on sweet treats if you don’t arrive with a growling stomach.
Bring your own healthy dish to eat and share.
If you’re worried there won’t be many healthy food options at the get-together, consider bringing your own nutritious dish. Maybe that’s a salad, a light dessert or a casserole loaded with veggies and healthy grain – the sky’s the limit.
It only takes a quick web search to learn that there are many delicious alternatives to popular holiday staples. And by bringing your own healthy dish, you’re not only showing off your exceptional culinary skills – you’re demonstrating to your loved ones that healthy food can be just as delicious with the right combination of seasoning or spices.
Don’t mingle near the food.
Partygoers tend to congregate near the bar or food tables often without realizing they’re doing it. Walk into the room with a game plan to “socialize more and snack less.” Make a conscious effort to stand across the room from where the food and drinks are.
If you’re casually chatting with someone next to a table with chips and dip, you’ll get lost in the conversation and wind up dipping too many chips. We’ve all been there! The less accessible the food and drinks, the less tempting it will be to munch on treats within arm’s reach.
Don’t be first in the buffet line.
There’s nothing more tantalizing than seeing a bountiful display of culinary dishes just begging to be eaten. But if you stall for time and place yourself in the back of the line, you’ll find that the food looks less appetizing after several people have passed through to fill their plates.
You’ll also find that most people in the front of the line probably skipped over the fruits and veggies and opted for the harder-to-resist options. By the time you reach the end of the table, you’ll find a pile of crumbs where the cookies and pie used to be.
Don’t forget water when drinking alcoholic beverages.
Consider keeping your alcohol intake on the low-end, especially if you have multiple gatherings that week. In moderation, imbibing can be fun; but remember, alcohol at any level causes inflammation, and it’s a depressant and a carcinogen. Managing your sips is important for your overall health not only during the holidays, but year round as well.
If you choose to have a drink, stay hydrated by having a glass of water after each beer or glass of wine. Better yet, start off with water or a non-alcoholic drink first.
Pop in gum or a mint after you’re done eating.
Last, but not least, make sure you keep a pack of gum or mints in your purse or pocket while you party. Freshening your breath with a gum or mint not only fights foul odors, it helps curb your sweet tooth, occupies your mouth with something other than food or alcohol, and it makes it less tempting to go back for second helpings.