Strategies for Healthy Holiday Eating
When you think about the winter holidays, dieting isn’t normally the first thing that comes to mind. In fact, most people think of the holiday season as the time to indulge themselves, and they actually look forward to eating all of the decadent foods available during this festive time of year. So if you are on a diet, the constant combination of incredible holiday cuisine and celebrations can weaken even the strongest willpower. However, by following a few sensible eating and exercise strategies, you can still lose weight sensibly during the holidays without losing your holiday spirit.
Eat healthy before you go out: Never go out shopping or to social events when you are already hungry. You’ll wind up eating twice as much at the food court or buffet table and regret it later.
Make use of a calendar to keep your diet on track: If you are already on a diet, chances are, it works with some sort of a calendar. If you think about it, many of the days when you are tempted to overeat are scheduled ahead of time. Write these days down on your calendar and then get mentally prepared to be on good behavior at parties and other planned events. Save the “off” days to remain faithful to your diet. Record your progress on the calendar, and keep focused on the calories you have cut out rather than on overeating blunders.
Find a holiday weight loss friend: Unfortunately, many people are unsympathetic towards dieting during the holidays. Sometimes, trading advice and recipes with a fellow dieter is just what you need to keep weight off during the holidays.
Be a scrooge with condiments: It’s an old trick, but it works. Remember, many holiday dinners and snacks start out with healthy lean meats, vegetables, fruits and even whole grains. The real dietary culprits are the excess sauces, gravies, syrups, creams, butter, fat, and sugar. Enjoy foods like roasted turkey without the skin, steamed green beans, zucchini bread, and cranberries – but skip the pumpkin souffl topped with caramel sauce.
Get rid of leftovers: Pack them in lunches or freeze them for later use, but do not keep a refrigerator full of holiday leftovers. The temptation is too great, and all day snacking is the quickest way to ruin any diet.
Think substitution, not starvation: You don’t have to give up your favorite holiday recipes to stay trim. Greatly improved sugar, butter and dairy substitutes will make your cookies, pies, and pastries scrumptious, but with fewer calories and less fat.
Exercise as you go: If you are shopping, park at the back of the parking lot and walk the entire mall. If you can’t get to the gym, this kind of activity still adds up to the minimal sixty minutes a week that many diets recommend.
The best way to keep to keep on track with a holiday diet is to not feel guilty about the occasional slip-up. Because many diets rely on self-discipline, they take some overeating into consideration and allow for mistakes. So, enjoy yourself during the holidays, eat sensibly and if you do get off course, take advantage of a New Year’s resolution to refocus on healthy eating!