It’s Christmas time and the temptation to eat just about anything that’s real.
Just ask the guy in the red suit who eats cookies each time he visits someone’s house. He isn’t exactly known for his svelte physique.
But if you follow these healthy food tips, you can enjoy your holidays without sabotaging your diet. Yes, there’s even room for a Christmas cookie or an eggnog latte.
Bringing your own food is one of the best surefire ways to keep at least one healthy and tasty option within reach. This works in so many ways. Whether you are brown-bagging your lunch at work or stocking up on keto snacks at your own desk, you can keep your eating routine consistent.
The holidays throw a wrench in that sometimes because you can’t always control what’s on the menu at different gatherings. But if you can bring food to work, you can certainly bring a dish to pass with family and friends. From apps and sides to main dishes and desserts, there are plenty of delicious recipes online that suit your specific diet plan.
Mindless eating is a problem any day of the year. But it’s especially easy to overeat or eat without enjoying your food at social events. Instead, focus on your food. No, I’m not talking about staring at your plate instead of making eye contact with Aunt Nancy. But make thoughtful choices when you put food on your plate and take time to enjoy what you eat.
It sounds weird, but your mom was right when you told you to chew more slowly. Science shows that by chewing your food more, your taste buds actually react to the flavors longer. Why does this matter? Well, in addition to being able to enjoy the food, you feel fuller longer. Winning.
3. Location, Location, Location
If you’ve ever caught an episode of House Hunters on HGTV, you know location is everything. That’s not just true for real estate. It’s also a key part of eating healthy during the holidays.
If you stand by the snacks, you’ll be tempted to snack more. Instead, make a plate and find a seat somewhere farther away from the food. If you’re trapped in a conversation near the hors-d’oeuvres, slide on over to the veggies or the cheese tray. Anything with fiber or protein are good picks. Sauces and dips? Not so much.
4. Track Your Progress
Ok, no one is saying you have to track down Great Aunt Dorothy for the full ingredient list in her cookies to calculate the macros, but you do want to continue tracking your progress over the holidays. If you kept a fitness journal or used a phone app in the other seasons, don’t make December any different.
What gets measured gets managed.
5. Keep Busy
It’s winter. It’s hibernation season.
Wrong. Repeat after me: “I am not a bear.”
While it’s definitely tempting to stay curled up on the couch, chilly temps are no reason to forget your fitness plans. You can also embrace the cold and find ways to take your fitness routine outdoors. There’s snowshoeing, skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and even shoveling. If nothing else grab the family and head outside for a snowball fight. The more active you are, the higher your metabolism stays.
6. Avoid an Empty Stomach
You don’t grocery shop on an empty stomach, right? Don’t go to parties on one either. Please don’t read this as an excuse to wreck your appetite. We’re not looking to upset Granny here. But if you grab a healthy snack before you leave, you’ll be less likely to dive headfirst into the artichoke dip when you see it. It’s also helpful if your host isn’t exactly known for getting a meal out on time, not sitting down starving can help you make more mindful choices when dinner does arrive.
And since most offices seem to equate Christmas cheer with calories, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to come up with a similar plan for work. If you know that the break room is full of donuts or chocolates, bring your own snack with you or eat your lunch before you swing by to say hello to everyone.
7. Snack Strategically
Alright, alright. The last tip said you should eat all the time, didn’t it?
Just because you’re aiming to avoid turning into a hangry character in a Snickers commercial isn’t a reason to eat 24/7. Instead, be smart about when you snack and what you reach for.
If you can keep almonds or veggie chips in your bag or even your glove box, you’re in good shape for road trips. If you’re snacking at the company happy hour, pick a protein. Yeah, you read that right. The trick is that protein keeps you feeling full longer. You just got the green light to find the cheese tray. We even brought the receipts. But remember, this is a snack, not a meal.
8. Balance Out Splurges
Here’s the thing with holidays: the dates don’t change much. Yet some of us love to act as if they’re a total surprise. A little planning can go a long way in terms of helping you balance out the splurges. If you know you’re headed to a Christmas party in the evening, eat healthier for breakfast and lunch. Squeeze in an extra workout. Look at your day, your week, and your month and ask yourself all the ways that you can add in healthy options to counter some of the celebrations.
9. Not Every Day is a Holiday
There’s no question that the holiday season comes with cause for celebration. But no one has an entire month’s worth of ugly sweater parties to attend. Such a buzzkill, I know.
That means that you want to stick to your routine as much as you can. A work party on a Friday evening isn’t an invitation to continue downing wings and beers all weekend. Even if you don’t start packing on pounds right away, constantly making excuses and justifying round-the-clock splurges all season long is a guaranteed way to set yourself up to fail in the new year.
Christmas It Up & Stay on Track
There’s no holiday magic here, folks. There are just 9 healthy food tips to get you from Christmas to the new year without derailing your diet.
It’s easier said than done, but you’ve come this far. Is there anything you can’t do?