This is the time of the year we celebrate by gathering with friends and family to enjoy each other and also to enjoy food together.
Did you realize that it is very common for people to gain on average about 10 to 15 pounds during the holiday season? 😮
We eat more calorie-rich food, more processed food during this time than we normally do, and this can be hard on our health.
So what can we do to go through the holiday season without sabotaging health and without gaining unwanted pounds?
We thought we would share some of our best Holiday Eating Tips that have worked for our Gift of Health members and us.
- Plan Ahead. Planning ahead and preparing healthy tasty alternatives can save you from unnecessary indulgence into the calorie rich foods. One of our students, Beth, always prepares some healthy plant based foods and snacks such as chocolate truffles, or shepherd’s pie, or brownies, etc to enjoy while others are enjoying holiday treats. You will feel like you are not missing out on the fun. ‘If you fail to plan, you plan to fail”
- Bring a Tempting Plant-Based Dish when invited for Parties. Everyone can try it and enjoy it. This will keep you from being tempted by energy dense holiday foods. When Carolyn, a GOH member, takes her clamless chowder, outrageous brownies and pirate salad everybody clamors for her dishes.
- Eat low calorie fiber rich food before you reach out for desserts. Fill up on healthy food then you can indulge a little with the rich holiday foods. As kids we have always heard this rule: Eat your veggies and fruits before you can get your ice cream.
- Know Yourself! Are you a nibbler or indulger? A nibbler is someone who can have a bite of rich junk/party food but still does not lose balance. They are satisfied with that one bite and do not empty the whole tray. An indulger is someone who easily gets trapped in a pleasure trap even with a single bite of rich party/junk food. They cannot stop until they finish the whole tray. If you are an indulger it is extremely important that you Don’t stray from your normal healthy eating routine. Try and keep your eating as normal as possible. Enjoy a little of the special plant based holiday foods but stick to your usual healthy routine.
- Continue to exercise. Regular exercise, even if it is for 20 to 30 minutes a day can boost your willpower and helps you to stay on track of healthy eating with long term focus.
- Connect & surround yourself with like-minded people. This will help keep you on track.
- Make healthier plant-based versions of your holiday cravings. Whatever your favorite meal or holiday sweets, it can be made into a healthy plant-based version.
- Have a Strong Why. Remember why being healthy is important for you and don’t let the pleasure trap rob you of all your hard work. When you stick to your plant based meals no matter where you are, your friends and family members will come to appreciate that and make accommodations for you. When we invite guests who love meat based dishes, we always serve delicious plant based meals without any dairy, butter, and oil rather than preparing meat based dishes for them.
We hope you enjoyed these tips and can put them to good use over the holiday season.
Remember the key is to first enjoy the time well spent with your family and friends. Enjoy the food but use the strategies so you don’t overeat and sabotage your health and your waistline.
Happy Holidays and all the best in the New Year.