Around the holidays, there’s an occasion to indulge at every turn. Between office parties, holiday happy hours, festive dinner parties, and foodie gifts, it’s hard to avoid temptation. We think it’s best to relax and enjoy some of those treats, but that doesn’t mean you have to completely fall off of the healthy-eating wagon. To help you out, here are some of our go-to ground rules for navigating the holiday table.
1. Drink water. We sometimes mistake the feeling of dehydration for hunger. Drink a glass of water every morning when you wake up, keep a water bottle at your desk, and have one to two glasses with every meal. If you know you’re hydrated, you’ll have an easier time understanding your true hunger cues.
2. Eat those fruits and veggies. It’s easier to focus on what you can add to your meal than to swear off holiday treats altogether. Fill up on lighter options like fruit and veggies so you aren’t famished when you’re staring at the dessert table. You’ll feel more equipped to indulge in a smaller portion.
3. Watch out for beverage traps. Souped-up cocktails, caramel apple cider, and eggnog are hidden calorie sources. Limit yourself to a small size and enjoy the treats occasionally.
4. Make your indulgences count. Ask yourself, “Do I really want this or am I eating it simply because it’s here?” If you save the splurges for something you’ll truly enjoy, you’ll feel more satisfied.
5. Stay on top of meal planning. Holiday social obligations and indulgent meals are inevitable. Make sure that you’re not skimping on wholesome meals in between the social stuff.
6. Make plans that don’t revolve around eating. If you can help it, try to steer social plans toward things that don’t involve expensive or indulgent meals. Christmas window shopping, a walk, a coffee date, or even an afternoon of holiday crafting shift the spotlight to something other than a heavy meal.
7. Squeeze in some extra exercise. Sure, it will help compensate for the additional calories this time of year, but you’ll also have more energy and feel better in general. And it doesn’t have to take a lot of time — try something as simple as going for a walk after meals.
8. Give away the treats. If you love holiday baking, or you’ve been gifted a big box of candy, ’tis the season for sharing! Package up treats to share with your neighbors, or take a box of goodies to the office.
9. Shop the farmers’ market. There’s no better way to get excited about healthy fruits and veggies than taking a trip to the farmers’ market, even in the winter. You’ll find interesting and seasonal produce and feel newly inspired about healthy cooking.
10. Eat breakfast. Start out every day with something nutritious, and you’ll feel the positive effects all day. A bowl of oatmeal and a scoop of Greek yogurt is easy and inexpensive. Pressed for time? Hard boil some eggs at the beginning of the week and stock up on some whole-grain crackers for easy breakfasts on-the-go.
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(Photos via Brooke Lark/Unsplash, Joanna Kosinska/Unsplash, Erol Ahmed/Unsplash, Brooke Lark/Unsplash, Takahiro Sakamoto/Unsplash, Keit Trysh/Unsplash)