‘Tis the season for holiday parties, family gatherings, celebrations, and of course, LOTS of great food!
With all of the festivities, many of us find ourselves throwing our hands up in the air and taking the all-or-nothing approach. Before you know it, everything you have worked SO hard for over the last several weeks or months, is down the drain. Well, I am here to tell you that even you can still reach those goals, regardless of the time of year.
Let’s face it; we are going to enjoy the festive parties, great company, and delicious food. I don’t think it would be realistic to ask anyone not to participate in any of these. But, all of the parties don’t have to revolve around the cheese ball, creamy dips, and sugar cookies.
You have to make choices. I am not saying you have to for-go all your favorites, but if you follow a few of my tips, you may find yourself ahead of the game come the New Year. So, whether you are hosting a party or just joining one, here are a few strategies to keep you healthy and fit through the season.:
1) Plate it Out
Before putting it in your mouth, put it on a plate. All those little hors’devours can quickly add up. Placing your food on a plate will allow you see what and how much you are eating. Enjoy what you chose and limit your second and third helpings. Also, to avoid the additional servings, fill that plate up with fresh fruits and vegetables. These are full of fiber and water and will keep you satiated and satisfied.
2) Think Ahead
Don’t go to a party hungry. Small meals and snacks throughout the day will help keep your blood sugar stable and prevent over-doing it at the party. Try a healthy snack an hour or two before the event. Here are a few quick and filling snack ideas that are all around 200 calories:
• 3/4 cup nonfat/lowfat cottage cheese, 1 cup of mixed fruit
• 2-3 ounces of low sodium turkey breast, 1 medium sliced apple
• 1 cup of nonfat greek yogurt, 1 cup of sliced fruit
• ¼ cup of hummus, handful of baby carrots, 1 sliced red/orange/yellow pepper.
• ½ cup of edamame shelled (1 cup shelled), ½ cup of steamed shrimp
3) Stick to the Basics
Too much alcohol can have a huge affect on your weight, mood, sleep, hydration levels, focus, etc. Try avoiding the fancy holiday cocktails and go for the basics – champagne, wine, light beer, and liquor mixed with non-caloric beverage (club soda, diet tonic, diet soda). Also, start the party with water or club soda with lime and alternate between alcoholic beverages. This will reduce the amount of alcohol and calories AND keep you hydrated.
4) Make a Commitment
Would you rather have a serving of the delicious cheesy casserole at dinner or a slice of the chocolate cake for dessert? Choose one, not both.
5) Don’t Make it ALL About the Food
The holidays are not just about the food, they are also about the people you share it with. Take some time to savor the company and conversation.
6) Keep that Routine
Exercise can be the first thing to go by the waste-side when we get busy. Keep your exercise routine as close to normal as possible. This will help keep you focused (and maybe burn off the extra calories) through the holidays. If you can’t get to the gym, here is a quick routine that can get the job done almost anywhere. For some extra fun, have a family member or two join in on the fun!
Instructions: Complete the following exercises for 30 seconds each. Rest 60-90 seconds in between each exercise and repeat 2-3 times depending on fitness level.
-60 seconds: Jumping jacks
-60 seconds: Jogging in place
3) Alternating lunges
4) Plank on elbows for 30 seconds
6) Plank on hands