Eating healthy during the holidays can be quite a challenge. Holiday seasons are usually characterized by social gatherings, often surrounded by delicious foods that are linked back to different cultures and traditions. However, you must not get discouraged by the endless amount of foods over the holidays. As long as you don’t use this season as an excuse to overindulge, but rather focus on balance and moderation, you can eat and enjoy whatever your body wants! Taking a holistic approach to nutrition and acknowledging a whole mind-body relationship, here are a few tips to eat healthy during the holidays.
Balance is all about maintaining a healthy diet most of the time. A useful rule of thumb is the 80-20 rule. It encourages us to eat healthy, nutritious foods 80% of the time, and eat whatever our body wants for the remaining 20%. Maintaining a balance, rather than restricting ourselves from eating certain foods, is key to eating healthy during the holidays and will reduce binging.
Are you concerned about eating your favorite foods during the holidays? Do you often feel you need to restrict yourself from eating them? Well, there is no need to restrict. Forget the cheat days, it’s all about balance and moderation! There are no good or bad foods. You can enjoy all the holiday treats if you focus on limiting portion sizes. The truth is that all foods are okay in moderation, which is key to eating healthy during the holidays.
Remember that cleaning your plate is not important. Listen to your body, and try to avoid eating when you are not hungry. Food has a strong connection to emotion, so sit and enjoy it. Limit distractions, control your portions, and choose a smaller plate if you can. This can help with calorie control, plus your plate will look fuller, so you’ll feel more satisfied during your holiday meal! Focus on slowing down, truly think about what you’re eating, savor every bite, and chew food thoroughly to enjoy the whole experience.
Staying active over the holidays will help you balance those extra calories and reduce stress and anxiety. Plan your activity by putting it in your calendar, and decide what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it. If you have a busy schedule, short spurts of exercise can counterbalance the endless foods and help you keep healthy over the holidays. If you haven’t chosen an activity yet, you may consider popular choices including yoga, pilates, HITT (high intensity interval training), or even walking, jogging, biking, or dancing.
Healthy Eating Tips
The 80-20 rule should help you get through the holidays without impacting your health. Besides, you can always swap out little things to make recipes healthier and better for you. Recipes are not set and stone. They are more of a guide that can be adapted and changed. One great way to start is by cutting sugars, or swapping refined sugars with healthier alternatives such as stevia or agave nectar. You can also limit saturated fat, mostly from animal products like meat, poultry, and dairy, and substitute it with healthier fats, such as avocado, olive, and canola oil. Check out our healthy recipes at Yumlish for more alternatives.
Don’t forget to watch out for the extra calories in alcohol. As in food consumption, you should drink in moderation during the holidays (usually one drink for women and two for men), and have plenty of water. Additionally, you can take advantage of the holiday season to make your own food with the people you love, rather than having pre-prepared foods. In this way, you can actually control what is going into the food. Substitutions and swaps are very fun! It doesn’t really change the product in the end.
You can do it!
Remember that it is possible to eat healthy during the holidays through a balanced, moderate, and whole mind-body approach. It is not necessary to restrict yourself, just don’t overindulge, or save calories for one meal. Rather, control your portions and enjoy the food, aiming to add color to your plate, loading it half way with greens/fruits, ¼ carbs, and ¼ protein. A balanced, nutritious plate will always help with calorie control, even if you are eating all the food in it. So, eating healthy during the holidays is in fact possible if you focus on this plate method and choose the healthier food alternatives whenever possible.