Whether holiday gatherings are with family, friends, coworkers, or teammates, there is bound to be plenty of delicious and tempting food included. Many people worry about overindulging in food and alcohol during the holidays, get anxiety over the additional pounds on the scale that may come with it, and feel shame and guilt for simply eating foods they enjoy. Many of us are bound to overeat at some point during the holiday season. However, despite what you may have heard, you can be healthy, maintain a balanced diet, and indulge in all your favorite foods. So, eat the foods you adore and follow these top five tips to maintain a healthy balance during the holidays and beyond.
Tip #1: Don’t Starve Yourself
If you don’t eat all day because you are saving your calories for an evening dinner party, you may be doing yourself a disservice. If you get to the party starving, you will be more likely to overeat. Instead, have balanced meals and snacks throughout the day that include plenty of nutritious fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. Eating foods that contain fiber and protein can help you feel full and satisfied, which may help you to be less likely to overindulged in the evening.
Tip #2: Eat a Balanced Diet
No matter how often you are splurging on your favorite holiday foods, remember that it is how we eat over time that affects our health. One day, or several days, of excessive eating and drinking isn’t going to make or break your health. Neither will a few extra pounds that you might put on during this time. Consider your diet over the span of several days or a week and try to keep it balanced. Aim to fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables, a quarter of the plate with lean protein, and a quarter of the plate with whole grains to make sure you are getting all the nutrients your body needs.
Tip #3: Eat Foods You Enjoy
There is room in your overall diet for all the foods you enjoy. When you deny yourself certain foods, you may end up craving them even more. Some holiday favorites only appear on the table once per year. Focus on those that you really love and savor every bite. Special holiday foods and drinks can be fun, social, and cultural. Relish what you love and pass on those you don’t.
Tip #4: Stay Hydrated with Water
It is easy to forget to drink enough water during the day, especially during the busy holiday season. Dehydration can lead to mental and physical fatigue, which makes getting through this hectic, and sometimes stressful, time even more difficult. In addition, if you are drinking more alcohol than usual, you’ll want to boost your water intake to compensate for its diuretic effects.
Tip #5: Enjoyable Movement
Whether you are playing a round of golf, walking around your neighborhood, lifting weights at the gym, or taking a cycling class, the exercise you choose should be enjoyable. If you think you are eating too much during this time, don’t use exercise to punish yourself by working out for hours trying to burn off extra calories. Instead, continue your regular exercise regime and activities, enjoy moving your body to benefit your overall health, and stop beating yourself up both physically and emotionally over food.