With Thanksgiving around the corner, it's easy to end up frazzled by holiday preparations. Between traveling, buying gifts and dealing with in-laws, you can quickly lose focus on your health. From drinking a little too much at parties to stress eating cookies meant for Santa, the holiday season can do major damage on your waistline. You don’t have to wait until January 1st to get back on track with healthy habits. Here are seven tips to help avoid overindulging during the holiday season and year-round.
1) Start each meal with a soup or salad
Who doesn’t love mashed potatoes and stuffing? Although it can be tempting, your best bet is to start your holiday meal with a soup or salad, instead of the traditional sides. Holiday foods are heavier and have more caloric intake than regular meals. By filling up with a soup or salad, you’ll be more likely to eat less of the richer foods. Consider Splendid Spoon’s soup and grain bowls for a healthy option (psst... we even have Thanksgiving meal hacks!).
2) Drink plenty of fluids
Want to stay healthy during the holidays? Be sure to chunk down more water. Sip liberally between running errands and buying last-minute gifts. According to WebMD, drinking water maintains the balance of fluids in the body which can help you control calories. Aim for half a gallon of water a day for optimal health.
3) Drink smarter
Cutting out alcohol is probably not realistic for most people during the holidays. However, you can limit your intake. Alternate each drink with a glass of water to avoid overindulging (and having a roaring hangover the next day). You also want to eat before drinking. Most cocktails contain simple carbohydrates that create a spike in blood sugar, and the“crash” afterward can lead you to rummaging through the fridge at 4am. Plan to have less to drink and eat food as normal throughout the day.
4) Okay...Indulge a Little
The holidays were made for a little indulging, so don’t beat yourself up if you have a cookie or two! Being overly strict can lead you to have an unplanned binge later on, especially if you experience holiday stress. Treat yourself a bit using the rule of moderation - we like to stick to 80% healthy, 20% indulging.
5) Choose Low-Calorie Food First
Fill up on low-calorie foods first. Choose to fill your plate with the healthiest dishes (like fruits and veggies) and then reach for the more decadent foods. By the time you finish the healthy dishes, you may be too full to eat much of the high-calorie food.
6) Stop Before You Feel Too Full
Although it’s pretty common to stuff yourself silly during the holidays, eating until you can barely breathe is a super uncomfortable feeling. As soon as your body signals to you it's had enough, stop. Feel like you don't know when you're full? Try counting between your bites. We recommend any number between 15 and 45 but do what makes you feel comfortable. If that's not working, remove yourself from the table and do something else. Your digestive system will thank you.
7) Reduce Stress
Nothing leads to overeating more than stress. Even in the rush of the holidays, strive to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Let other people take on holiday coordinating responsibilities if you have to. Go for a walk, do yoga or meditate if you feel overwhelmed. It's the holidays, so you’ll probably eat more than normal, and that’s it's okay. Don't beat yourself up and know you can always work on your weight loss goals...tomorrow.
Splendid Spoon can help you reach your health goals this holiday season and all year-round. With plant-based, pre-portioned meals, we're the easiest (most delicious) way to stay on track. Learn how here.