It’s the most wonderful time of the year – unless you’re trying to eat healthfully.
It happens every year. We focus on our health for almost 11 months. And then the holidays hit, and we end up eating too much and drinking too much, sometimes enough to undo all the good we did all year.
What can you do?
Here are 10 tips to help you get through the eating and drinking season:
- Continue your good practices at home. You can’t control what foods you’ll run across at parties or at the office, but you can make sure you’re well stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables at home. Fill the fruit bowl, and put it on the counter as a reminder to eat what your body really needs.
- Stick to your healthy routine as much as possible. Step One is a great routine to keep up during the holidays. You’ve been eating these foods to keep you fuller longer and to help make sure you’re getting plenty of critical nutrients for your heart. These goals are even more crucial during the eating season.
- Reduce alcohol intake by alternating every glass of alcohol with a glass of water. If you use sparkling water with a slice of lemon or lime, no one will even notice. Alcohol is a big source of empty calories – and next day headaches -- and this strategy will reduce your alcohol and calorie intake by half, while improving hydration.
- Don’t be afraid to say no. Don’t feel like you have to attend every party or eat every morsel of food presented to you.
- Try to take time for yourself. Every day. This is a stressful time for many and stress makes us naturally less attendant to making good dietary choices. A great way to kill two birds with one stone is to relegate stress reduction to exercise. You don’t need to break a sweat every time – even going for a short walk can make all the difference in the world.
- Think about what you're eating. Sit down, chew slowly and enjoy it. You may find you’ll be completely satisfied with a smaller amount.
- Adjust the relative composition of your plate. Make extra room for fruits, salads and vegetables, and less room for higher calorie items. You’ll still enjoy everything offered at the meal, but in a more balanced way.
- Be choosy when it comes to sweets. Not every dessert or treat is worth eating. Focus on choosing only those things that you find truly pleasurable. And then follow rule 6.
- Keep guilt out of the equation. It’s a useless emotion. If you eat a less than perfect meal, move on and get back to your better dietary practices as quickly as possible.
- Be focused on health not on weight. You’re in this to live longer and live healthier. Whenever you can, choose foods that support health. The rest will take care of itself.