The holidays are a time to celebrate with friends and family and enjoy seasonal favorites. Here at Nourished Bite we want you to have your best holiday season yet with a handy checklist for a happy AND healthy holiday.
The average adult gains one pound during the holidays. While that may not seem like a lot, this weight tends to stay on. People who are already overweight tend to gain about 5 lbs or more each holiday. The average weight gain for an adult per year is 1 to 2 pounds, so it’s safe to say that each holiday season contributes to the yearly creep up on the scale.
When it comes to diet and exercise, we tend to go all or nothing. Just because you’re going to eat a bit more than usual on a holiday doesn’t mean you can’t make healthy choices throughout the rest of the day. This year, get ready to indulge and enjoy without having to loosen your belt buckle for the rest of the season.
Don’t skip breakfast: While saving space for the big dinner ahead may seem like a good idea, going into a meal starving will lead you to gobble down way more food than you need and can lead you to make some not as healthy choices. Look for options high in protein which can help cut cravings.
⬜ Ate a breakfast high in protein
Get your workout in before you go: Before you head out, make sure you get in a workout. Not only will it negate a bit of the damage later, but it also reduces hunger hormone ghrelin, helping you chose proper portions and make better choices later.
⬜ Exercised for 30 minutes
Drink lots of water: Start your holiday off with a big ol’ glass of H20 when you wake up, and make sure to throw back a glass or two before you start the big meal. Research has found that people who drink two glasses of water before a meal lose more weight and keep it off. This simple tip works in two ways - thirst can mask itself as hunger, causing you to eat more, and water makes you feel fuller, causing you to eat less during a meal. Water may even help bump up your metabolism - one study found that water increased metabolism by about 25% for an hour.
⬜ ⬜ ⬜ ⬜ ⬜ ⬜ ⬜ ⬜ Check off for each glass
BYOV (Bring Your Own Vegetable): If the ‘healthy’ vegetables at your meal tend to be coated in cream and butter, offer to bring a dish. While some steamed green beans or a plate of crudités may not seem like a popular option, you never know - other guests may thank you.
⬜ Brought a dish I know I can rely on
Don’t deny yourself: Remember, being healthy doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you deny yourself your holiday favorites, you’re much more likely to binge later and you’re missing out on something that brings you joy. While you should go forth and enjoy a dollop of mashed potatoes or some apple pie, remember to do so with a plan. Before you dive in, check out the whole spread and choose a few of your fav dishes. Try to fill half of your plate with fruit or veggies. Not only are they lower in calories, but the fiber in produce helps keep you full and slows down sugar spikes (so you may not need that after dinner nap.)
⬜ Made at least half of my plate healthy sides like veggies, fruit, or whole grains
⬜ Enjoyed a reasonable portion of my favorites
5. Enjoy each bite: Try to eat mindfully. How many times have you jonesed for something, and then gobbled it down so quickly you barely tasted it? Instead of shoveling down a mountain of mashed potatoes, truly taste each bite. Think about the textures and flavors. By slowly enjoying your food, you’re much more likely to eat less AND be more satisfied - without having to be rolled out of the room. Eating more slowly also allows your stomach time to catch up - it takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to realize and signal that it’s full. To slow down, cleanse your palate with a swish of water or put down your fork and chat with your neighbor between bites.
⬜ Took breaks between bites
6. Get your friends and family moving: After the meal, take a family walk, play a round of football, or cut down your own tree. Exercise helps speed up digestion and keeps your blood sugar in check, meaning you’ll feel a whole lot better than if you plop on the couch and hibernate.
⬜ Got moving after dinner