We all know how "dangerous" the holiday season can be when it comes to eating right and staying active. Enjoying holiday goodies like hot chocolate and candy canes is fun, but they're loaded with calories and fat. We're also more apt to skip out on exercising because shorter days make spending time in the gym seem like a waste of daylight. So what can we do to make up for these health slips?
1.) Plan On Getting Seconds
You're probably confused as to why I'd be advising you to fill your plate up a second time at the next Holiday party you attend, but that's not the exact idea. Rather, next time you go to fill your dinner plate, put about half as much food on it as you normally would. Sit down, eat slow, and enjoy it. Take your time when eating so that your body is able to keep up with digesting your food. Once you are done, feel free to get a second "half" helping if you're still hungry, and continue to eat it at a slow pace. Doing this will ensure that you do not overeat. When we load up our plates with food and proceed to chow down on it quickly, our bodies cannot keep up and we usually end up eating much more than we actually need to.
2.) Make Everyone Get Active!
Instead of sitting around on the couch after eating dinner or opening gifts, suggest doing something that gets you all moving. Take a walk around the neighborhood and admire the Christmas decorations, toss a football, have a snowball fight, or build a snowman if the weather allows it! Physical activity will help to begin burning off some of the calories from your holiday meal, and crisp, fresh air is never a bad thing for the lungs and circulatory system!
3.) Cheat During Cheers
When everyone is drinking and toasting at dinner, you don't necessarily have to have an alcoholic drink in your glass, so try sticking to real fruit juice or just plain water with lemon or lime. If you're like many of us who still wish to partake in drinking, skip out on the sugary cocktails or heavy beer and opt for something with less calories, like a gin & tonic which averages around 150 calories, or a vodka soda or glass of red wine which both usually have around 100 calories.
Calories from alcohol add up fast, especially when you're mingling at a party all night and having more than one drink. Not to mention that an alcohol buzz usually ends up in excessive munching - something we all should avoid!
4.) Be Picky
Don't waste your calories on food that you can have any time of the year. Be picky and limit what you eat. Try to refrain from picking off of the generic appetizer party platters of fatty cheese and salty crackers so that you don't have to feel bad about the seasonal treats you will indulge in later on for dessert; such as rich eggnog, sugary homemade cookies, or sweet candy canes! You can eat things like pigs in a blanket or chips and dip any day, but grandma may only make those gingerbread cookies once a year!
5.) Don't Skip Meals
Just because you have a large holiday dinner ahead of you doesn't mean you should skip breakfast that morning. Eat light, but don't starve yourself all day up until dinner. Binge eating throws off your metabolism, which will only make it harder for your body to burn off the large meal you plan on eating later. Additionally, your blood sugar levels will be thrown off if you do not start your day with a decent breakfast, resulting in calorie cravings the rest of the day.