It's Jingle Bell Run season and that means that all kinds of delicious foods and libations are all around us. Sugary treats, eggnog delights, and rich meals. If you type holiday weight gain into Google, there's a plethora of articles to peruse about how much weight we can potentially gain during the holiday season. I have always found Thanksgiving to New Years pretty complicated to navigate, as I want to enjoy all the food and drinks, and want to do so in a healthy manner. I've found planning ahead and moderation to work well.
From about Thanksgiving on, I strategize for upcoming holiday meals and parties. If there are vegetables available while we're waiting to sit down for dinner, I munch on those. I make an effort to avoid finger foods that spike my appetite like: salted nuts, chips, crackers, cheese, etc. For me, the key to navigating lavish sit-down meals is being mindful about what I put on my plate. My strategy is to keep my plate well balanced and eat everything in moderation. What will my plate look like? Lots of vegetables and a smaller amount of protein will take up most of my plate with a little room for items like stuffing and mashed potatoes. With foods I love and could potentially overeat (like stuffing), I take a small amount, eat it slowly and savor each bite. When I'm done with that plate of food, if I go back for seconds that will likely include only veggies. If I have a glass of wine, I try to keep it to about 5 ounces, which is what a standard pour is in most restaurants. As for dessert, I love them — and I will have a small slice of pie or a cupcake and be done. Again, my goal is to enjoy the food while not overindulging.
At holiday parties and events, you will likely be surrounded by an array of foods and tasty beverages like champagne, mulled cider, potato latkes, sweets, yummy appetizers, chocolate Santas, and more. Before I attend holiday parties and gatherings, I have a plan for handling these settings. Like many people, I socialize and lose track of how many appetizers and drinks I've consumed and before I know it, I've indulged a little too much. To avoid overeating, especially the finger foods — like wontons, I load up my plate with veggies and fruit when possible, and avoid or only have one wonton or bacon wrapped scallop. And, as I mentioned above, I try to avoid foods like salted nuts, chips, dips, and crackers.
Drink water. Lots of water. It will fill you up — plus, water has lots of nutritional benefits.
If you have an opportunity to eat a meal before attending a party, that will help to limit mindless grazing at parties. In addition, it's important to not skip any meals prior to attending events or parties so you aren't already in a nutritional deficit or hangry.
It's pretty simple — be cognizant of everything you're putting in your mouth. It may sound a little rigid, but it's how I've found success in changing my habits for the long-term.
For those running Jingle Bell Runs, may you be the first one to cross the finish line. And to all, a happy and joyful holiday season with lots of love, joy, and healthy eats.
Did you know I have a YouTube Channel now? You can access all of my past Move of the Week videos there whether you're at home, traveling, or at the gym! I'll still be posting a new move each week on the web site and then archiving it on the YouTube Channel.
Check out this weeks new move of the week video: Single Leg BOSU Ball with Med Ball Rotations