It can be really tough to do if you don’t have a plan, but with a few simple tips and tricks, you can breeze through the holidays and maintain your health goals WITHOUT feeling deprived.
My goal around the holidays is to enjoy the friends and family I’m around and enjoy the food, but to do it in a way that makes me feel good...and overeating until I feel like I’m going to throw up and feeling so bloated I can’t button my pants, does NOT make me feel good, and I’m guessing it doesn’t make you feel good either. So let’s flip the script for a minute. It’s easy to get so focused on what we can eat and what we can’t eat that we completely lose track of what’s most important: family, friends, and connection. Going into the holidays with the mindset that it’s about connection and togetherness, and the food is good, but not the most important thing will help set you up for success. Gorging yourself on desserts isn’t going to bring you happy memories, that deep conversation with a friend you haven’t seen in ages, now THAT is a lasting memory.
Mindless snacking while talking and drinking alcohol is a recipe for massive overeating without even noticing. Why not skip the appetizers and just enjoy everyone's company and conversation while you’re waiting for the main meal? That way you’ll actually enjoy and taste the food you eat when you’re eating it, instead of shoveling and talking and eating mindlessly for hours before dinner even begins! You’ll also be saving a lot more room for that delicious meal when the time comes.
When it’s mealtime the most important thing you can do is pay attention to portion sizes and macros. Macros refer to the three macronutrients, protein, fat, and carbohydrates. The first thing you want to load up on is protein. Protein is very satiating, meaning it’ll help you feel full and satisfied. It also won’t spike your blood sugar so loading up on protein will help you have nice stable energy and avoid that blood sugar crash that sends everyone straight to the couch for a nap. You want your protein to be one of the bigger portions on your plate, especially if it’s a lean protein like turkey breast.
Next up is vegetables. See if you can find some that aren’t covered in calorie-rich butter or cream sauce or bread crumbs or brown sugar. Instead, go for a salad or steamed or roasted vegetables. This should take up another huge portion of your plate.
Then we have carbs. This should be on the smaller side, especially if you plan to have dessert, which is also a carb. A half a sweet potato or a small scoop of stuffing is a good portion size here.
Finally, we have fats. This should also be a smaller size. Not because fat is bad for you, but fat has 9 calories per gram while carbs and protein only have 4 calories per gram so it’s easy to go overboard on calories when you load up on fat. This is where you can have a bit of butter on your sweet potato or a bit of gravy on your turkey, but don’t go overboard here.
If you did a good job building your plate with mainly protein and veggies you should have some room both in your stomach and in your calorie bank to eat some dessert. Portion size matters here as well. Your dessert should be small so you’re not consuming too much sugar (which we all know isn’t good for us) or too many calories (which isn’t going to help us fit into those cute skinny jeans any time soon!).
If you follow this method this holiday season you won’t be missing a thing. Most importantly, you’ll be spending time connecting with the ones you love, but you’ll also still get to eat a nice meal just like everyone else, you’ll still get to enjoy and sample many of the different foods, and you’ll even get dessert. The one thing you won’t get is a massive carb and sugar coma and a big ol' bunch of regret.
Give this a try this holiday season, I think you’ll find it easy and effective at maintaining your health goals! If you liked these tips make sure you sign up for my newsletter so you can get my very best tips emailed to you every single week! SIGN UP HERE!