The most wonderful time of the year is here! Decorations are filling the stores, flights for visiting family and friends are booked, and... dun dun dun... we are envisioning tables full of candied sweet potatoes, juicy turkeys and hams, and desserts as far as the eye can see.
We all know that even though there are only a handful of holiDAYS coming up, we tend to treat these last two months of the year as a healthy eating hiatus not just for the one day, but for the leftovers for the next week, the pre-celebration parties, and the list goes on.
Now if you know me, you know that I have more than one sweet tooth - so don't stop reading here thinking this is just another article telling me to leave my party pants at home and favorite dumpling off my plate.
Au contraire, I am all for enjoying every single second of the holiday season festivities and doing so with what I call the 1-2 punch.
Let's face it, most of the time, we come back from the holidays feeling like we need a holiday for our holiday. A moment to recover before slowly dragging ourselves to the office.
So how can we instead make the most of the delicious holiday meals (and beverages) to avoid that overstuffed, slightly yet accidentally regretful feeling for eating to much.
Step 1 Sneak in the Snacks
Most often you hear that sneaking snacks is a bad habit to pack on the pounds. But hey, I told you that we are adding a flare to the season, and that starts with this. Why snack? To trick our brains (and stomachs) of course. When big celebratory meals have too many delicious choices for us say no to all of them, let our stomachs do the work for us. By filling up throughout the day, you will still get to enjoy your fair share of your favorites, however, your body will naturally say I'm full long before you've had those 5 extra potatoes. Here are a few delicious, easy, and nutrition packed snacks to mix in throughout your day.
- Plain yogurt and fruit parfait (I love StoneyField Whole Milk Yogurt - super creamy and great with a splash of honey)
- Veggies + Avocado Hummus (via A Cozy Kitchen)
- Cauliflower Crust Pizza Bites
Step 2 Pop, Fizz, Clink
I love champagne, wine, or a festive cocktail. But if you are familiar with the economic concept of marginal increasing benefits, that's how I think most of us feel about alcohol during the holidays. (I know... but whyyyyyy). Gathering with friends or at a corporate party, we unwind, we enjoy, and we indulge. And yet, I have another trick up my sleeve for you - it's the extra fizz. Just like we trick our brain with the snacks, adding a little soda water to whatever you are drinking will do the same. You still get the pop, fizz, clink, you still get to have as many drinks as you normally do, but this subtle dilution will help you feel better the next morning and ready for the day ahead with friends and family.
Step 3 Shake it off
There is no shame in indulging in the holiday feasts. In fact, our brain and soul needs that just as much as anything else. The way to make it not effect you too negatively is to work in at least 20 minutes of movement into your day. I know my family does at least one movie day during the holidays - yes that is at least 3 movies in our PJ's all day. When you add that with leftover sweet corn and green bean casserole, it's easy to start a spiral downward in all sorts of feelings in our body. So last year I instituted a 30 min barre3 workout to shake up the day. Sometimes it's a walk in the brisk air, sometimes it's cleaning up around the house, whatever it is get the body moving, loosened up, helping rev that metabolism.
Don't worry about feeling guilty this holiday season, rather sprinkle your menus with a dash of healthy options to help surreptitiously curb the excess and enjoy increased energy throughout the whole holiday season and ready to crush those resolutions in the New Year!
Do you have some snacks or hacks that help you stay balanced during the holidays? What are they - share them in the comments below so we can all continue to learn together.