So Thanksgiving is over and maybe you indulged a bit more than you had intended. The Turkey Day feast was incredible, plus there are all those yummy leftovers and desserts! In addition, upcoming parties at school and work, festivities with friends and family, and the endless trays and bowls of goodies present even more obstacles. It's tempting to just throw in the towel on eating healthfully during the holiday season. But just because you overdid it on Thanksgiving doesn't mean you should continue to indulge all the way through New Years.
Here are some healthy tips to help you get through the holiday temptations:
Don't skip breakfast
Skipping breakfast seems like a good idea when you've overeaten the night before, but this only sets you up to repeat the pattern of heavy evening eating. Plus, eating breakfast helps activate your metabolism so you're able to burn off all those holiday calories.
Exercise is by far the best way to burn off all those extra holiday calories! Plus exercise can be very positive and motivating - when you spend time sweating it out at the gym, you're more likely to make healthier food choices since you don't want to cancel out all that hard work!
Focus on fiber
Fiber-rich fruits, vegetables and whole grains are excellent choices to help fill you up without filling you out! Aim for at least 5 servings of veggies and 2-3 servings of fruits each day during the holidays (and everyday!). Choose whole grains such as 100% whole wheat bread, steel cut oatmeal or brown rice over refined or processed carbohydrates.
Many of us enjoy celebrating the holidays with a few seasonal cocktails. However, it's essential to replenish with plenty of good old H20. Make sure to drink at least 6-8 cups of water daily to combat dehydration, provide essential fluid and keep your body running efficiently. Limit intake of cider, eggnog and other high calorie holiday beverages.
All that carb-rich holiday food affects blood sugar levels, making glucose and insulin levels spike high and then drop low. This can leave you feeling tired, cranky and irritable and no one wants to feel like a grinch during the holidays. This can also make your body more likely to store that extra energy as fat. Adding lean protein to each meal can help keep stabilize blood sugar and insulin levels and limit fat storage. Excellent sources of protein include soy (tofu, edamame), nuts, lean poultry, lean meats, reduced fat dairy products, legumes and eggs.
It's tough to stick to your healthy plan when you're surrounded by decadent holiday goodies. Remove any irresistible treats from your pantry or refrigerator. Donate that holiday gift basket or cookie tin to a food pantry or homeless shelter. Let someone else take those tasty holiday leftovers home. Send holiday cards instead of making cookies or other baked goods.
Take each day as it comes, and try to do your best. If you overdo it today, don't beat yourself up about it, just try to make a healthy choice tomorrow. Don't deprive yourself, but at the same time, eat consciously and try to make educated, health-conscious decisions.