Maintaining your commitment to healthy eating can be tough when holiday celebrations are going on all around you. However, it is possible to see out the year in style without blowing your healthy eating goals. Whether you are trying to lose weight or simply want to avoid gaining weight during December, there are a few simple principles you can follow to stay trim this winter.
How to Party Without Piling on the Pounds
Parties abound with high caloric high-carbohydrate snacks. If you don't pay attention to what you are nibbling, it is easy to add a lot of empty calories to your usual healthy diet by grazing the buffet table. Practice mindfulness while eating so that you are aware of how much you consume. When you approach the buffet table, stay away from sugary snacks and instead fill up on vegetable crudites, fruit and lean cold cuts of meat.
Arriving at a party when you're hungry is not a smart move. Ward off party food cravings by eating a small high-protein meal or drinking a protein shake before heading out. A study published in the British Journal of Nutrition showed that people who consumed a whey protein shake before being given access to a large amount of tempting food ate a lot less than those who didn't pre-load with protein.
Alcohol is a hidden source of calories during the holiday season. Try to limit your alcohol intake and stay away from sugary mixers that will spike your blood sugar and leave you craving sweet things.
Celebrating at Home
If you are hosting the celebrations, amaze your guests by serving up a meal that is both delicious and nutritious. Turkey is high in B vitamins, zinc and selenium, as well as being much leaner than fatty meats such as duck or goose. Stick to your healthy diet by filling up on extra meat and vegetables and either skipping or only eating a tiny portion of dessert.
Preparing food in advance will lower your stress levels on the day and help you to avoid nervously nibbling on food you are preparing at the last minute. Rather than passing around candy or corn chips for your guests to snack on while they wait for the meat to finish roasting, start the meal with a light salad of arugula, pear, walnuts, and balsamic dressing.
Healthy Mind, Healthy Body
Avoid stress eating by taking some time out from the party planning to relax every day. Yoga is a great way to revitalize the body and relax the mind during winter, so look for classes in your area. Lack of vitamin D can also be responsible for low mood during the winter months, when the lack of sunlight makes vitamin D deficiency more likely. Consider taking a vitamin D supplement to avoid winter blues sabotaging your commitment to healthy eating.
1. Br J Nutr. 2010 Dec;104(12):1858-67 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20875183)
2. Am J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2006 Dec;14(12):1032-40 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17138809)