From cookies to eggnog, cream cheese-laden dips to carb-heavy stuffing, the holidays can be tough to navigate when you’re trying to eat healthy. All is not lost, though. With a little preparation and knowledge, you can survive the holidays without gaining five pounds in gingerbread cookies!
The most important aspect of any diet is preparation. During the holiday season, this may seem daunting with an already exhausting to-do list. But simple steps like prepping healthy breakfasts and lunches can prevent you from binging while on last-minute errands or at a cocktail party. Making oatmeal overnight in a slow cooker or baking egg cups early in the week covers breakfasts (and the egg cups can use up pesky ham and turkey leftovers from holiday meals!). Bake two pounds of chicken breasts on Sunday night, and eat those throughout the week in either chicken salad, on a green salad, or with a side of veggies for a thoughtless but filling lunch. With a fully belly, you’re far less likely to load your plate up with high calorie appetizers at parties.
Be sure to watch out for sneaky diet killers like sugary cocktails and side dishes packed with butter and sugar. If you’re going to drink, opt for clear liquors with low-sugar mixers, and alternate between alcohol and water to cut your calorie intake in half. When dining, keep one-third of your plate covered in veggies and/or salad, and another third full with protein. Use the remaining space to indulge in all the delicious food that makes the holiday special (but avoid getting second helpings!). If a craving for a big piece of pie hits, strike up conversation with a friend or relative you haven’t seen in awhile. The craving should disappear by the time you’ve caught up on the latest news in her life.
If you do find yourself sneaking cookies from Santa’s tray every time you walk past, stop and figure out why you’re doing this. Are you tired? Stressed? Avoiding your crazy Aunt Wendy again? If you can pinpoint the emotion that’s making you overindulge, you’ll be able to quickly course-correct without doing much damage to your waistline.
Above all, don’t forget that the holiday season is filled with lovingly prepared food and great company. Enjoy yourself and celebrate with the ones you love!