Many of us would agree that the holidays are the hardest time of year to maintain a healthy diet. The season begins with handfuls of Halloween candy, then moves through three courses of potatoes and pie at Thanksgiving, and ends with the cookies-and-booze fest that is Christmas. Most people give up on healthy eating until New Year’s, but there is a way to indulge in your favorite holiday treats without letting go of your nutritional goals.
- Make protein the star of your plate. Holiday buffets may offer a plethora of chips, dips, and fruits, but the key to feeling satisfied with those light bites is to make protein your plate’s primary feature. Protein-rich diets increase satiety, meaning you’ll be less likely to spend the night lingering near the snack table. Opt for meat, fish, or egg-based dishes, or go for cheeses, hummus, and mixed nuts as vegetarian options.
- Eat your veggies first. Before you eat the glazed ham, stuffing, and sweet potato pie at Thanksgiving, eat a serving of vegetables first. This will ensure you get a full serving of nutrients before you fill up on starches.
- Savor every bite. Take the time to enjoy each bite of food, then wait before going back for seconds. Your brain takes at least 20 minutes to get the signal that you’re full, so pacing yourself will help you realize when you’ve had enough.
- Eat what you love. It’s easy to fill up on food just because it’s there. Fill your plate with foods you actually love rather than foods you think you should be eating. If you spend all year looking forward to your grandma’s Christmas cookies, go ahead and have another. If eggnog doesn’t excite you, skip it.
- Have one fancy cocktail. If cranberry and peppermint infused cocktails are your thing, treat yourself, but keep it to just one for the night. Switch to something lighter like wine or dark beer, or sip on a trendy “mocktail.” Remember to alternate between alcoholic beverages and water to stay hydrated!
- Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals is a common strategy for “saving” calories, but it usually backfires. If you skip breakfast and lunch the day of a holiday party, you’ll be more likely to overeat later. Smoothies, juices, and plant-based meals will keep you feeling full and energized throughout the day so you’re able to make better decisions later.
- Ditch the guilt. The holidays should be a time of celebration and relaxation, so if you splurge on the desserts one night, don’t beat yourself up about it. Just don’t let a slip land you in a food rut. Maintaining a consistent, healthy diet over the holidays will give you a head start on achieving those New Year’s resolutions.
Looking for lighter meals to enjoy between “Friendsgiving” dinners and holiday party buffets? We’ve got you covered. Our award-winning vegan and vegetarian meals, smoothies, and cold-pressed juices won’t make healthy eating over the holidays feel like a chore. Visit us Mon-Sat (8 am-4 pm) or Sun (9 am-2 pm) to explore our selection of organic snacks, plant-based meals, and more!