It’s almost “that time of year” again, and 2021 is going to be a special one.
After the stress and isolation of 2020, many families are finally feeling safe and gathering in the same space to rest, give thanks, eat good food and spend time together.
However, for those of you who are on a journey to long term health and vitality, you may also be feeling a bit of stress with the holidays coming up.
As our wellness clients learn in their programs, what we eat plays an important role in how we feel and how our bodies function. The holidays often center around eating food with family and friends, much of which is full of sugar, processed grains, and chemicals you’ve been working so hard to eliminate from your diet. As a result, people can often feel discouraged when they get to this season because they feel like they are “missing out” on so many of the dishes and meals that make the holidays feel complete.
So the biggest question on your mind is, “How can I stay on track with my health goals while also being able to fully enjoy the holiday season?”
Dr. Allan Plumser and the team here at Elite firmly believe that just because you’re striving to be healthier doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on anything! In fact, you’re actually gaining a fuller, healthier, more vital life!
You can absolutely enjoy your holiday favorites without overindulging and slowing down your progress on whatever health goal you’re striving towards.
In this blog article, we’re going to give you some tools to do just that! (We also have an early holiday gift! We’re giving you free access to this year’s “Healthy Holiday Recipes” PDF!)
Keep reading for 6 tips to stay on-track with your health goals during the holidays!
1. Practice mindful eating of moderate portion sizes.
Just to reiterate, you can enjoy all of your holiday favorites - in moderation.
***If you’re a current client going through a detox or one of our wellness programs, however, please stick to your program and contact us for guidance.
As a general rule, we recommend that you follow the 80/20 rule here: 80% of your plate/holiday servings should be healthy, whole foods and 20% can be everything else! For example, fill your plate with veggies and turkey (gravy on the side), and then go ahead and enjoy a small serving of stuffing and a slice of pie for dessert.
And you know that feeling of having to unbutton your pants when you finish dinner? Let’s avoid that altogether this year by practicing mindful eating. This will activate your gastrointestinal hormones and the digestive process, allowing your brain to recognize when you’re actually full. As a result, you won’t feel inclined to overeat.
Not only will the 80/20 rule and mindful eating keep you on-track with your health goals, but you also won’t feel like falling into an after-dinner “food coma.” Instead, you’ll have more energy to enjoy the time spent with your family!
2. Eat your veggies first.
Before you dive into stuffing, dinner rolls and dessert, start by eating vegetables. This one is a simple trick to fill up on the healthy stuff first so that you won’t feel as hungry and inclined to overindulge in the less healthy food.
Plus, by eating your vegetables first, you can be sure that you’re consuming lots of vitamins and fiber to give your body energy and activate your digestive system. We also have a few hearty, vegetable soup recipes for your first course on this year’s “Healthy Holiday Recipes” PDF, so make sure to grab your copy!
3. Choose your drinks wisely.
Surely you’ve heard the old saying, “Don’t drink your calories.” If you are planning on having alcoholic beverages at a party or holiday gathering, make your selections wisely.
For example, we all know that the classic eggnog is full of calories, fat and added sugar. Instead, opt for a glass of red wine or champagne.
And don’t forget to hydrate! Between every serving of an alcoholic beverage, be sure to drink at least 8 ounces of water.
4. Offer to bring your own dishes to holiday parties.
One of the most difficult parts of eating healthy during the holidays is all of the parties! When you’re not preparing the food, it can be challenging to find selections that fit within the parameters of your health goals.
Instead, make a suggestion to the host that you bring a dish or two of your own to the party! Your overwhelmed holiday host will surely appreciate the gesture, and you can ensure that you have healthy selections available.
Plus, our “Healthy Holiday Recipes” PDF is full of delicious crowd-pleasers.
5.Use better ingredients for your holiday baked goods.
We couldn’t forget about dessert! There are plenty of easy ingredient swaps you can use to satisfy your sweet tooth while staying healthy.
For example, try using unsweetened applesauce instead of some or all of the butter in your recipe. It can be swapped in equal quantities, but keep in mind that it may change the texture or density of your dessert. Check out this article for more recipe swaps for your baked goods.
We also have a couple of full dessert recipes on our “Healthy Holiday Recipes” PDF!
6. Keep up with your fitness routine.
Even if you’re following all of the tips above, chances are that you’re still indulging a bit more than you might normally.
The holiday season may be a time to rest and recharge, but that doesn’t mean you have to be completely sedentary. Try to work in at least 30 minutes of movement per day to stay on-track with your health goals.
Last but not least, please remember that you do not have to earn food during the holidays or any time of year! As long as you are staying consistent and mindful of your choices, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying your holiday favorites.
And of course, the Elite team will still be here to support you. To learn more about how our wellness program can help you to reverse chronic disease and achieve long term health and vitality, please contact us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 732-254-1003.
For more guidance and healthy recipes for the holiday season, download our free “Healthy Holiday Recipes” PDF. Click here to grab yours now!