Health Watch: Six tips to avoid calorie overload during the holidays
From office parties to neighborhood gatherings - during the holidays, food is everywhere. Despite your healthiest of intentions, it’s not easy to eat right during the holiday season - no matter how determined you are to stay on track.
Fear not! With a few simple tricks and a game plan, you can still enjoy your favorite festive foods without feeling like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade balloon by the time New Year’s Day rolls around.
Don’t waste calories. Before you place anything on your plate, survey the entire spread of food options. Decide which foods are must haves and which are better left on the table. Not only will selective eating allow you to savor your choices even more, you won’t waste calories on anything you won’t fully enjoy. If you find yourself standing in front of a table overflowing with options, step away. Survey the scene. Don’t stand near the food and only use one plate. Throw it away when you’re finished so you’re not tempted to go back for unnecessary seconds.
Snack smart. “When heading out to a holiday gathering, make sure to have a small snack before you leave home,” advises Nicki Briggs, MS, RDN, Food and Nutrition Expert for NatureBox. “Reach for one that offers a combo of protein and fiber, like nuts and dried fruit or hummus and whole grain crackers. It will keep you feeling full so that you’ll have the willpower to not overdo it at the buffet.”
Don’t drink your calories. Opt for lower calorie beverages like water, tea, or coffee whenever possible. If you’re going to indulge in an alcoholic drink, stick with light beer or a wine spritzer instead of punches or mixed drinks. (Some holiday drinks can have up to 500 hidden calories!) And make sure to drink a glass of water between each beverage to help you stay hydrated and keep your drink count in check.
Host with health in mind. When hosting your own holiday party, don’t skimp on the better-for-you options. Serve up feel-good foods like veggie trays and lean meats. If you’re struggling to come up with ideas, try a convenient healthy service like NatureBox, who will deliver holiday-ready options right to your door. NatureBox offers over 100 tasty snacks to choose from like Chocolate Peppermint Pretzel Pops, Cranberry Pepita Crisps, and Gingersnap Cookies so it’s never been easier to garner ‘oohs’ and ‘ahs’ from your guests without having to slave over a hot stove or make a trip to the store.
Revamp your fitness routine. The holidays are a time to indulge in treats, but that doesn’t mean you need to forgo your fitness. Get some friends together and try a new workout class or make a point to get to the gym an extra time per week. Exercise releases endorphins, which will have you feeling extra cheery when you arrive at every holiday party.
Don’t beat yourself up. If you end up overindulging at a party, don’t let it get you down. Use it as a learning experience and take steps to do better next time. Tomorrow is a new day and you’ll be motivated to make smarter and healthier choices.
Follow these tips to feel your best during the holidays, while enjoying the food and company you love.