Holidays are a great time to celebrate and socialize with friends and family. During the holidays you can give yourself a break from your day-to-day routine, sleep in, enjoy delicious foods and perhaps drink that extra glass of wine. Christmas comes once a year – that’s what we tell ourselves to justify mindless social eating.
For dieters, the holiday season is a constant struggle with temptation that even the strongest of wills can’t resist. According to the experts, having a plan can help you get through the holidays without spoiling your diet. Pay attention to what and how much you’re eating: it’s as simple as that.
In this article, you’ll find some holiday diet tips – to enjoy the good times with your loved ones without putting on unwanted weight.
Eat your favorite foods!
It may come as a shock, but being on a diet should not stop you from enjoying your favorite foods. A diet is a lifestyle change, and sooner or later you are going to want to eat that cookie, cake, pizza or whatever your comfort food is. The trick is to apply portion control and make an effort to limit your serving to a sensible portion.
If what you really want to eat is a piece of gingerbread rather than celery or carrot sticks, don’t feel deprived: have a small nibble, but do so in moderation. With this simple concept in mind, you can easily survive festive get-togethers.
Holiday Diet TipsEat a few while chatting with your family and friends, then stop – remind yourself that you don’t need to keep eating. Sip some spring water instead! If you need a little something before the meal, skip the appetizers and go for the healthier choices: veggies, fruit, or salsa. At the dinner table, skip the gravy and don’t go for the extra whipped cream; don’t smother your portion of bread with butter – it’s delicious, but you’ll regret it when the holidays are over, especially if you are struggling to control your weight.
Trimming a few calories here and there won’t spoil your holiday experience – you’ll leave the party satisfied, but not stuffed.
Do not skip meals! You’ll end up overeating later when hunger sets in and when you can no longer ignore your friends and family indulging in high-calorie delicious foods or sipping alcoholic drinks. On the day of a big dinner, plan a healthy breakfast, a light lunch, then a small snack or salad right before dinner – the experts say this strategy will increase your chances of eating sensibly.
Indulge in calorie-free foods
Have you eaten enough for the day? During the holidays, we tend to have food on display all the time: on the buffet table, by the TV, and so on. Unless you carefully pick what you are going to put on your plate, you’ll probably end up overeating.
Instead of mindlessly munching on calorie-laden dishes and snacks, go for calorie-free substitutes. Pop a sugar-free gum in your mouth and chew away: it will keep you busy and distract you from all the food on display. If you can’t resist the munchies, choose a piece of fruit or some vegetables to limit your calorie intake.
Alcoholic drinks are choc-full of calories, especially holiday favorites such as eggnog. Choosing non-alcoholic drinks such as spring water or diet soda can help you control your calorie intake. Drinking lots of water will make you feel full, and its also great for detoxifying your body. If plain water sounds boring, spice it up with a slice of lemon, or choose the sparkling variety.
Celebrate the holidays – not the food
Holiday parties are much more than food and drinks. They are a time to celebrate traditions and spend time with family and friends. Focus on the spirit of the season: of all holiday diet tips, this is the single most important concept. Enjoy the party! You’ll soon realize that all the trimmings – food, snacks, drinks – aren’t the key to a happy holiday.
If you are hosting the event, prepare your favorite low calorie dishes for yourself and your guests – they’ll thank you too!
Organize some physical activities with your friends and family – take a walk, play a game with the kids. Do your best to fit some type of exercise into your daily schedule, something fun that doesn’t feel like a workout. You’ll enjoy yourself and forget about food while you’re doing it.
And if you stray off course, don’t beat yourself up: just get right back on the diet track, eating sensibly and exercising. You could even go on a detox diet after the holiday season, eating only fruits, vegetables, and whole grains for a couple of days – remember to consult your doctor or natural practitioner though before doing it.
Carolyn O’Neil, MS, RD, “The Dish on Eating Healthy and Being Fabulous”
Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD, “Diet Simple”
Brian Wansink, PhD, “Mindless Eating”