Spoiler alert: the answer isn't having green smoothies and salads for every meal. If you can do that, good for you! But that's not a realistic option for most people, including me! With all kinds of yummy hors d'oeuvres, appetizers and desserts being offered, you're going to need some help having a healthy holiday season. I believe in the mantra "everything in moderation", except the foods that make you sick. I don't think there's anything wrong with having a bit of junk food here and there, as long as it's not something you are intolerant or allergic to. If you've ever wondered how a naturopath eats during the holidays, you're in the right place. Here are the tips I use myself to try to maintain a healthy holiday season.
Eat before attending an event
If you don't want to pig out on pigs-in-a-blanket, eating before the holiday party is a must. The key is to have something fibrous and nutrient-dense that will make you feel full. A chicken breast with some kale salad is a great example. Once you've filled up on protein and leafy greens, you won't be as likely to chow down on apps. Besides, if you're eating healthy at breakfast and lunch time, you won't feel as guilty if you indulge a little at a Christmas dinner party.
Offer to contribute to the meal
This is especially helpful if you're one of those people who has a long list of food sensitivities. Make something you can eat, then bring it to share with everyone! That way you know there will be at least one thing at the party that you can have. If it's a catered event and bringing food isn't really possible, keep your eyes out for things like veggie trays or olives. These are healthy options that most parties tend to have.
Use a smaller plate
If there are smaller plates, use them! Dessert-size plates or even a napkin are perfect for this. Research has shown, time and time again, that we eat less when we use a smaller plate. You'd think your brain would know that you're eating less and tell you to go up for seconds and thirds, but research demonstrates that this isn't the case. We've discovered this way to trick our brains into eating less junk food, so let's use it to our advantage and have a healthy holiday season!
Only eat food you actually want
This sounds obvious. You might be thinking "Come on, I obviously only eat the things I want". But do you really? Have you ever found yourself picking at a cheese plate or scarfing down cookies just because they were there in front of you? When someone offers you food or it's set out on a table, I want you to think this before you take it: Do I actually want this right now? If the answer is "yes", go for it. If the answer is "no" or even "maybe", skip it. It's not worth it! Save the calories for those "yes" items.
Keep your hands full
Simple, yet effective. I discovered this strategy recently at a wedding. I had a glass of red wine in one hand, and was using my other hand to take photos. Whenever a waiter came around with bacon-wrapped this or cheese-covered that, I had no hands available to take anything! All I had to do was make it logistically more difficult for me to take food and it was so much easier to resist.
Maintaining a healthy holiday season isn't always easy. Keeping weight off around Christmas time (or any time, for that matter) can be a challenge. If you want an individualized weight management program that is tailored specifically for you, book an appointment with Dr. Corina Kibsey ND today.
Photo courtesy of:Toa Heftiba