Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

Over the years, surveys have indicated Americans gain anywhere from one to ten pounds during the holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving and topping it off with festive New Year’s parties.  Those of us striving to live a healthy lifestyle would like to cruise through the season without threats to our waistlines or missing the social engagements that arise. We can enjoy a healthy holiday season and not miss all the festivities by following a few simple tips.

Eat regular meals during the day of a party, or dinner gathering. Eating a good breakfast, regular snacks, and a healthy lunch will leave you satisfied. Skipping meals during the day before joining family and friends will leave you starving and more likely to indulge and over eat.

If soup is on the Thanksgiving menu as a first course, opt for a broth based one instead of a cream soup. Broth has fewer calories and less fat than a heavy cream based soup.  Having the soup before the main course will also help to keep you from over eating during dinner.

In most cases, there will be crackers and cheese, or chips and dips available. Stand arm’s length away from the bowl. It will be less enticing to keep walking back to the bowl for a handful of chips or crackers, whereas if you stand right by the bowl you will be tempted to keep grabbing for chips and eating them. If you increase the effort it takes to snack, you won’t snack and can enjoy great conversations with your family.

When it comes time to do your holiday shopping, there are a couple of strategies to employ. First, plan your trip to the mall, so you don’t pass Starbucks multiple times. You will only be tempted to stop and treat yourself. Second, opt for a sit down restaurant for a meal, rather than the food court. You will have healthier options to pick from and be able to enjoy your meal without being rushed.  If you must eat at the food court, stay away from places that use red in their color schemes.  It’s proven that red increases your appetite, enticing you to purchase more food than you need.  Another option is to keep a packet of Shakeology in your purse and mix it up to stave off hunger.  Not only will it fill you up, but for 180 calories it will give you energy and all your vitamins.

Keeping track of what you eat during the holidays will help keep you on track too.  A food journal holds you accountable to eating clean and healthy.  Writing down healthy foods looks much better than admitting to yourself that you had that extra piece of pie or six Christmas cookies, doesn’t it?

Don’t forget to step on that scale once a week to keep tabs on your weight. It will advise you of any fluctuations you may need to accommodate.  A slight increase could signal you to spend a few extra minutes on the treadmill.  Another way to keep tabs is to try on your favorite skinny jeans once a week. If they start to feel a bit tight, you know you will need to step it up in the gym and watch those calories a bit more closely.

Most of these tips are fabulous for the holiday season and they can make a huge impact during the year.  These little adjustments and common sense approach can keep you healthy, keep the weight off and let you enjoy a healthier life.