The holiday season is here! With the holidays come holiday feasts, parties, and gatherings with friends and family all of which involve rich foods and sweet treats galore. I’m sure I’ll indulge a bit, but after sharing about my weight struggle I’ve working hard to lose weight, get healthy, and eat clean. That work has been paying off with a weight loss of 20 pounds and a lot more energy. I don’t want to take steps backwards this holiday season, so I’m trying to find the best ways to keep up with this lifestyle shift we’ve made at home.
It seems like a tall order to go into the holidays and expect to keep up my progress, but thankfully the team of in-store nutritionists at GIANT Food Stores offered helpful ways to navigate holidays so you and I can have our fruitcake and eat it, too!
10 Tips to Keep you Healthy this Holiday Season
1. Maintain your weight.
Holiday weight gain tends to build up over the years and many people never lose those extra pounds, so one way to stay healthy is to keep an eye on your portions. Maintaining your weight may not seem like a big win, but it can be if you struggle with holiday weight gain each year.
2. Eat before you leave home.
Whether you’re headed to a party or going out holiday shopping leaving home on an empty stomach can cause you to overeat or choose the wrong foods. Instead plan ahead. If you have a party, don’t skip meals in anticipation. Choose a high protein breakfast and a snack of lean protein, fruits and vegetables beforehand. Carry a healthy snack with you like nuts, dried fruits, or even carrot sticks in case you feel hungry.
3. Drink plenty of water.
Staying hydrated is the key to maintaining your energy. It will also help you feel fuller. Drink a glass of water before meals, and remember to stay hydrated throughout the day.
4. Keep moving.
While it may be tough to find time for your normal workout routine taking time to move is important. Consider a family walk before your thanksgiving feast, playing tag with the kids in the house, or even making sure to take a few ‘laps’ of the stores where you’re holiday shopping or walking the mall before you browse.
5. Indulge a little.
Allow yourself small portions or tastes of your favorite dishes. Choose a small cocktail size plate for appetizers and limit yourself to one plate. No small plate? Try using a napkin. You will only be able to fit enough food into the palm of your hand, ideal when you hit the sweets table.
6. Hit the veggies and fruit first.
It’s tempting to go straight for the good stuff on a buffet or at a cocktail party, but taking up most of your plate with veggies and/or fruit will help curb your enthusiasm for those mini meatballs.
7. Follow My Plate guidelines.
For dinner events, follow the MyPlate.gov guidelines. Make half your plate fruit and vegetables. One quarter of your plate can be a scoop of a starch such as mashed potatoes, rice or sweet potatoes. The rest of your plate should be your lean protein (roast turkey, filet mignon, baked ham, etc.).
8. Bring a dish to share.
When attending a party or event offer to bring a dish to share. That way you can ensure there will be something that suits your healthy food choices. Possibilities include: a salad, fruit skewers or a fruit tray, or a healthy version of your favorite holiday side dish or appetizer.
9. Skip liquid calories.
Liquid calories can add up quickly. Sugary mixers can double your cocktail calories! Stick with wine and light beers, which are about 100 to 125 calories per glass. And be sure to follow each alcoholic beverage you have with a glass of water to stay hydrated.
10. Adapt your favorite recipes.
If you’re the one in the kitchen, there are a number of simple swaps you can use in preparing your holiday favorites.
- Use low-fat dairy products.
- Instead of oil use applesauce or ground flax.
- Try ground turkey and turkey bacon.
- Replace an egg with 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed and 3 Tablespoons water in your baking dishes.
- Use spices or herbs instead of salt to flavor food.
- Add vegetables whenever you can. Try pureed butternut squash in mac and cheese and cauliflower in mashed potatoes.
For more healthy tips visit GIANT’s Healthy Ideas online, stop into your local GIANT to pick up the free holiday edition of Healthy Ideas Magazine, or set up an appointment with your in-store GIANT nutritionist.
How do you keep healthy during the holidays?
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of GIANT Food Stores.