When the holiday time arrives, people usually drink and eat a lot and the family gatherings seem endless. Because of that, we suggest that you take a different approach to holidays this year – one that will allow you to enjoy your favorite holiday food, but also keep your health in check.
- Find new ways to move
If your exercise routines require too much time and effort, chances are that you are not looking forward doing it when you are tired, and during holiday times you are tired almost all the time. Instead of sticking to your normal routine of going to the gym or 30-minute jog, you can find some new ways to move.
You can try an online video or you can try a new workout class. You can even take some of your friends or family members to join you. You can organize a family activity like a hike, ice skating or even a scavenger hunt. If you don’t like traditional workouts, you can also keep your body moving by digging out the holiday decorations, cleaning out closets or you can hang up the holiday lights. Remember that moving bags, big boxes, and piles of things, is also a workout.
- Make protein the star
Holiday parties usually offer a wide array of chips, vegetable and fruit platters, and dips, but a way to keep yourself full and satisfied is to make protein one of the primary features in your plate.
Foods that contain higher amounts of protein, increase satiety, which means that you will be fuller and less likely to overeat. You need to opt for fish and animal-based proteins, dishes that contain eggs, bean salads, bean-based dips, sliced meats, nut mixes, and yogurts. All of these foods are high in protein.
- Do not eat meat in one meal during the day
According to the scientific studies, diets that are plant-based will promote your health. Choose not to eat meat in one meal during the day, just to add some variety to your plates. Instead, enjoy foods that can lower your blood cholesterol, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and control the levels of your blood sugar.
This means that you should have a black bean burger, vegetable stir-fry over brown rice, and top your salads with chickpeas instead of grilled steak or chicken.
- Stock up on sleep
During this time of the year, it is always a good idea to prioritize sleep as often as possible. When your body gets an adequate amount of sleep, it will deal with stress in a much more effective way and it can bring a healthy balance of hunger and satiety hormones (ghrelin and leptin). If you get inadequate amounts of sleep, on the other hand, may lead to mood swings and appetite changes.
Also, high amounts of stress can impact the quality of your sleep. Avoid stress by sleeping 7 to 9 hours during the night. You need to develop a sleep routine in order to reduce the levels of stress, thus improving your sleep quality.
- Have one cocktail during the night
If you are a big fan of cocktails like peppermint, cranberry or eggnog, you need to keep in mind that you should not drink more than one during your night out. Opt for something lighter in terms of alcohol content and calories like dark beer, wine or alcohol-free drinks like sparkling water.
- Practice “Less is More”
Instead of trying to taste everything that is put on the table, including the six dips, and all eight deserts, you need to add a small sample of smaller varieties of food, by choosing one of each category. Carefully take a look at what is being offered, and then pick one or 2 samples to taste. The human eye is insatiable, especially when hungry, but this is a slippery slope because it can lead you to eat amounts of food that will later make you feel full and bloated.
- Eat when you are hungry
Most of the times it will be tempting to eat less during the day when you know that the big party is tonight. But, healthy eating always comes down to honoring your hunger. If you skip your meals, you will experience intense hunger which can have negative effects later on, because it will probably lead you to overeat.
According to scientific studies, the foods that are considered to be delicious, often times trigger overeating. This especially happens if you are over-stressed. In this situation, when you are stressed, ignoring the hunger can even add more stress to your mind.
When you feel like eating, even in case if you are going to some dinner party later that day – eat. You may not be as hungry at the party but that is ok because your health should be at the top of your priorities. You will still be able to at least taste the delicious foods by the time you get there.