Last week we talked about not welcoming holiday stress into your life this season with some great tips. If you missed it, you can read it again here. This week, I’m sharing some easy tips on how to stay healthy during the holidays while still enjoying all your favourite foods.
You don’t have to feel stuffed, sick, tired or gain weight during the holidays, and you can enjoy all your favourites.
We’ve all been there. The holiday season ends and our pants feel a little too tight. We are sluggish, maybe bloated and can’t look at another turkey, meat pie or dessert again. But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can still enjoy our favourite treats, meats, desserts and holidays treats without the weight gain, and without the food induced coma.
Here are 7 tips to avoid overeating during the holidays.
1. Bring a Healthy Dish
If it is a potluck meal, bring a healthy dish that is hearty and will fill you up even if there are not other healthier options available. You can fill your plate up with your healthy dish and add the other food items in smaller quantities.
2. Aim For Smaller Portions
If your family is like mine, they love to see you eat and eat and eat. It is okay to say no to your host when they ask you if you want more. Start with smaller portions, take a mini break and check in to see if you are still even hungry before going up for more. You can also use smaller plates.
3. Load Up On The Veggies
If there are veggies being served, fill up on the veggies before adding the main course, drizzled with delicious gravy. Actually, your host will love this because I’ve hosted many dinner parties where no one eats my fabulous veggie dishes and I always have to throw out so much of it. Keep your hostess and hips happy.
4. Dessert Smart
If there is dessert being served, ask for a small portion. It is also okay to say no, but come on, it’s the holidays, so if you do want to treat yourself, just tell the host that you are so full from their amazing meal, but you would like to taste a couple bites. Take control of the situation and don’t let them choose the size. Or, ask if anyone wants to share a portion with you. You won’t be the only one at the table trying to watch their waste size.
5. Slow it Down
Holidays are a great opportunity to slow it down and pace yourself. If you are at a holiday dinner where all the traditional items are being served, load up with vegetables first. Often we do the opposite and then have no room left for the veggies. Start with the veggies and salads, go sit down, then get back up to serve the other items. This is also great for the host because they slave for hours making a meal, everyone loads up their plate and the meal is done in five minutes. Take your time and eat in stages, being sure to allow the time for your body to send the signal that it is full. And keep the portions smaller. Remember, you want to leave room for digestion to take place and dessert.
6. Walk It Off
The holidays are also a great time to get the family together and go for a walk. After the meal is done, why not try and rally the troops and take a stroll around the block. This will give you the opportunity to mingle with each other, do something different, and you get to burn off some calories, making room for dessert.
7. Be Mindful
This is the most important step of all.
Overeating is something a lot of us do because we are not paying attention to how much we are eating, or what we are putting on our plates. Overeating causes fatigue, and brain fog because when you overeat your body is so focused on digesting all that food that it decreases the blood flow to your brain. It needs the extra energy to digest the over consumption and this causes you to feel fatigued. If you think about it, I’m sure you have felt this before.
Be mindful by:
Using smaller plates and be mindful of how much you are putting on your plate. If this is something you struggle with, here is a good rule of thumb to follow.
If you are adding meat, keep it smaller, like the size of the palm of your hand or a regular deck of cards.
For carbohydrates like potatoes, rice or pasta, try for one 1 cup per meal.
For vegetables, aim to fill 50% of your plate with vegetables. The vegetables will help with digestion and give your body a boost of essential nutrients it needs to thrive.
When you are mindful of the food you put in your body, you are increasing your brainpower, your energy, and your happiness. WHAT? Food can make me happy? You bet!
And remember, food is not the enemy. Eat all your favourites, just don’t do so until you can’t move, breathe, think or even stay awake. You can stay healthy and have your cake too.
Laurie-ann Sheldrick, The Contagiously Positive Girl