Holiday season is a merry time, and if you’re like most people you might find yourself generally overindulging in unhealthy foods. This might happen because you have more access to holiday foods (high in calories), are more social and attend more gatherings and parties (I really hope not in the current pandemic, though), or have some level of increased stress during the holidays.
Did you know that adults gain an average of about 0.48 kg during the fall/ winter holiday season, and this weight gain typically doesn’t reduce during the spring/ summer months? While this may not seem like much, this weight gain accumulates over the years and is potentially one of the contributing factors to the weight gain that adults experience every decade. Other studies have hypothesized these small yearly weight gains to be responsible for the increase in obesity rates since the 1970s. Another study showed an increase in body fat mass, especially belly fat, during the holiday season. This is why it’s really important to keep Holiday weight gain in check. It’s not too difficult either, when you keep a few simple things in mind.
Don’t let the holiday season disrupt your healthy eating (or weight loss) goals. It’s perfectly possible to enjoy yourself without jeopardizing your healthy lifestyle. Here are a few simple tips you can follow to enjoy the Holiday season without the guilt.
- Be mindful of holiday season food purchases. A study has shown that households purchase less-healthy items during the holiday season (and incidentally this purchase continues post- New year), which leads to an increased consumption of calorie-dense and indulgent foods, resulting in weight gain.
- Enjoy the festive season as a whole, focus on connecting with family and friends and having fun with the people in your life. Focus on the celebrations and fun, and less on the food.
- Load up on fruits and vegetables. You’ve probably heard how good it is to eat several servings of fruits and vegetables. Not only are they super healthy, fruits and vegetables can help you not overeat anything unhealthy by keeping you full for longer. Whenever you feel the urge to snack, make it a point to snack on a fruit or a veggie (or even a vegetable smoothie with no added sugar).
- Do not skip meals. Skipping meals can wreak havoc with your blood sugar level and make you want to overeat at another time without realizing. If you’re heading to a social gathering, ensure you never leave home on an empty stomach – eat a fruit or a healthy snack before you leave – so that you aren’t tempted to over indulge.
- Offer a healthy (or less unhealthy) dish. If you’re hosting a gathering, you’re in control of the menu. Make healthier versions of holiday favourites. Or, if you’re invited to a gathering, offer to bring a healthy dish. Like these 20 Refined Sugar-Free Recipes. Click HERE to download them for FREE!
6. Choose less unhealthy options. When you’re at a social gathering and have no control on the menu, you can still control what you eat. There are always healthier options (or less unhealthy options, at the very least). Choose those. For example, fill up your plate with a large serving of vegetables and some protein. Consciously avoid overly fried stuff and refined carbohydrates.
7. Do not indulge with wanton abandon. Avoid overindulgence in food and drinks. It might be helpful to keep a mental note of your personal ‘allowable excess calories’ each day, and not exceed that limit.
8. Limit drinks. Alcohol and even non alcoholic beverages can quickly add up a lot of calories without you realizing it so it’s best to avoid drinks or limit them, at the very least.
9. Eat your favourites mindfully. You’re absolutely allowed to pick some items that may not be very healthy but seriously love. It’s the holiday season, after all. Enjoy what you love, and be mindful of the enjoyment. Do not stuff yourself just because you love something and it’s on the menu. Pick a portion, and enjoy it while it lasts. Savour every bite. Eat slowly. Eating a super large portion or several servings of something you love doesn’t add to your pleasure. Instead, eating a small portion mindfully and with all your senses will make you much happier, and you’ll also know that doing so will keep those calories in check.
10. Eat small portion sizes and no second helpings. Eating more of something doesn’t give you more satisfaction (it only gives you a lot of calories). Instead, have smaller portions and do not take second helpings – unless you really enjoy something – in which case, skip something else so you stay within your allowable excess calorie limits.
11. Get moving. While Holiday season is very busy and it’s easy to forget to fit in physical activity, remember that exercise is a very powerful weapon to keep the extra calories off. Exercise can also take your mind off the stress of the holiday season. Make exercise an essential part of the holidays and get moving with your friends and family.
What did you think about these tips for a healthier Holiday season? If you’re interested in finding healthy dessert recipes that are refined sugar-free, click the link below.