The Holiday Season is here! Woo-hoo-ish! It always seems to come quicker than I'm ready for it, but we're in it =).
My eyes were opened by a statistic I read that the average holiday meal is 3,000 calories - and if you add on appetizers and dessert, it can easily reach 4,500. Again - that's ONE meal. Now nobody wants to think about "healthy" during the holidays, so here's a toolkit of tasty tips to help you enjoy the holidays without the regret and guilt.
TIP #1 – Remember the Reason For The Season
Whether Thanksgiving or Christmas, the heart of the reason for the season is love and gratitude. Food somehow has taken the spotlight (especially for Thanksgiving). It's time for a mindset shift. Yes, enjoy the food, but shift the focus to:
Gratitude & Relationships
Family and Friends You Want to Connect With
What Updates You Need to Hear & Catch Up From Others
What Updates You Want to Share
Write down your Connection Checklist and have a game plan to connect with as many people as possible.
TIP #2 – The Pleasure Principle – PLAN – PREPARE - PLATE
PLANNING is a key success strategy in your Divinely Designed Healthy Life*Style PracticeTM, and it doesn't change when it comes to the holidays. You know what's going to be on the holiday spread, but you don't need to eat everything - especially the day to day items that you can have anytime. Focus on:
What are your MUST HAVES?
Create a Rating System for the Food (1-10) and fill your plate with food items that are 8-10’s. Be a snob - only the best for your plate!
PREPARATION is planning's first cousin. The best way to make sure there are a few healthy options on the table is to take the lead. I started bring kale salad to our family dinner about 5 years ago, and now it's requested =). #winning! Focus on:
BYO (Bring a healthy option to the spread). And if you need some healthy plant-based options - check out this link or this one that has more recipes than you could ever want.
Consider a Healthy Holiday Swap
Minimize Mindless Noshing/Tasting - as you prepare the food, you don't want to deplete your calorie budget before you even get to the meal with extra mindless tasting and munching.
PLATING your food rounds out this Pleasure Principle tip. How and what you put on your plate is another key success strategy. Focus on:
Making a Power Plate (Veggies First! on Half the Plate + ¼ Protein + ¼ Whole Grain/Starch). In general you want to fill half the plate with your non-starchy veggies - and eat them first. It's a great strategy to fill up on the foods with the most nutrients and least calories first.
Striving for Color. If you can get all five fruit/veggie color groups, you are #winning big time.
Seeing the Plate – Don’t Go Mindless! Have your Goldilocks moment. Is the amount of food "just right" - or are your eyes too big for your stomach?
TIP #3 – Don’t Go to Your Holiday Meal Starving
Starving yourself the day or morning before Thanksgiving is NOT a success strategy. In fact, you'll be more likely to binge on sugary and fatty foods because your blood sugar will be low. Instead...
Eat a Healthy Breakfast (Green Leafy Goodness Smoothie/Greek Yogurt Buffet/Oatmeal/Hard Boiled Egg, Fruit and 1/4 Avocado - in other words something light but satisfying).
Have a Small Snack w/ Protein (depending on when the meal is).
TIP #4 – Go Easy on the Appetizers
Focus on Fruits and Veggies
Have One Small Plate
Plate and Go! (No extra chitty chat near the food spread to avoid hand to mouth disease)
TIP #5 – Drink Mindfully - Liquid calories do count, and they can count BIG on the waistline if you're not mindful.
Drink Water Before and During Meals - Research has shown that drinking 16 oz. of water prior to a meal can be linked to weight loss.
Set a Limit - especially on cups of eggnog or alcoholic beverages and stick to it - and be sure to drink water in between.
Sip on a cup of warm and comforting cup of Green Tea post-dinner.
TIP #6 – Take Your Time
Chew to A Liquid - Click the link for all of the details, but chewing your food well has multiple benefits - including digestion.
Put Your Fork Down Between Bites
Wait 20 Minutes before a second helping. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to register that you're full, so if you eat too fast you may not realize that you don't really need that second plate. Slow down and savor each bite and you'll get more enjoyment all around.
Hara Hachi Bu - I just like saying it, but it means, eat until your 80% full. That's a good marker for feeling satisfied and not crossing over to that yucky stuffed feeling where you can't move or breathe. Your Clean Plate Club membership card has EXPIRED!
Make a Sweet Treat Sampler Plate to get a yummy bite of your favorite must-have desserts and then move on. After bite 2 or 3, the enjoyment factor goes down anyway, so get the kick you need and keep it moving. Clean your palate with an olive, or go hard core and brush your teeth =).
TIP #7 – Move it! Movie it!
Take an AM Workout or Stroll
Be A Power Player – Throughout the day look for every opportunity to move vs. sit. Put on your favorite jam and get a dance party on while you prepare the food.
Go for an After Dinner Family Walk
TIP #8 – Enjoy - This is absolutely the most important tip. Holidays are to be enjoyed, so deprivation is not on the list.
Don’t Deprive Yourself (Just be mindful and think moderation)
No Cheat Days - Only CHOICE Days - I don't believe in cheat days - only choice days. Make the choice to indulge in some things, and then make the choice to get up on Friday and hit the malls, hiking trail, youtube or the gym =).
Have a safe and blessed holiday season! Would love to hear any comments and what tips resonated with you!
Blessings & XO!
Your Girlfriend in Whole Body Health
Founder, Fit thru Faith
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Interesting topic, nice tips informative and well written.