The holiday season generally comes with friends, family, food, potlucks, parties and sugar. Parties can occur weekly and even coworkers festively display candy bowls with treats readily available. There’s nothing wrong with indulging once in a while, but the holidays make it easy to over-consume every day throughout the months of November and December. Keeping our minds on our overall wellbeing with a few simple tips can help keep us from regretting the previous day or make us feel like we need to compensate the sugar intake with salad for the rest of the year.
Keep a balanced plate.
Don’t forget to eat your vegetables. Holiday foods generally have an excess of fat and other ingredients added to them that decrease their nutrient density. There’s no reason you can’t eat mashed potatoes and gravy and a crudité tray or salad. Try to keep half of your plate full of vegetables accompanied with leaner proteins to keep you on track with your fitness goals. When arriving to the food table, observe the options and pick out some of the healthier options, before even grabbing a plate. Looking over the food table before getting in line prepares us for each dish we walk by and helps us make better decisions while building our plate.
Enjoy the company.
Remember that parties are designed for us to enjoy the people in our lives who bring us joy. And you can always participate in the joyous occasion far away from the food table. When actively engaged in meaningful conversations, we’re less likely to snack without a purpose, which decreases the amount of unnecessary sugar we consume while increasing the value of the party. When candy and cookies are within reach, it’s easy to mindlessly grab something and eat it—even when we’re not actually hungry.
The amount of desserts and sweets at parties can be overwhelming. It seems like half of the food options at holiday parties are a form of dessert—cakes, cookies, pies and pastries. There’s no need to abstain from anything sweet, just be picky and indulge moderately. If you’re going to have dessert, make it worth it. Pick something that you’re going to fully enjoy and take the time to slowly enjoy every single bite.
Drink moderately and drink water.
It’s important to stay hydrated. If you partake in a holiday drink or two, remember those drinks contain extra sugar. They can also leave you dehydrated, which is why it’s crucial to drink water throughout your festivities. In addition to being the best alternative to caloric beverages, water helps our skin maintain health. It also helps our kidneys filter toxins and help us feel full (so we don’t overeat).
Set an example.
If you’re planning a party, ask your guests to prepare or bring healthier options. Your request may trigger the other health advocates in the group to offer ideas and ensure there will be options. Find a healthier recipe for something you already enjoy or try something new. A simple internet search will drum up flavorful and nutritious recipes that everyone can enjoy.