Put the Ho Ho Ho in the holidays with five tips that will help keep you healthy during a season of festive foods.
It’s that time of the year when the home is filled with the aroma of cookies, the family is gathered around the table, and the food tastes more delicious than usual. These five tips will help you enjoy this time of year the healthy way! By using creativity, mindfulness and enjoying the season, you can master the holidays by not even breaking a sweat, unless a sweat is necessary for your work out!
Use Cooking Substitutions
We all know the holidays are the time of the year to “go big, or go home!” But how about instead of “going big” in a bad way, we “go big” in a good and healthy way! By making simple substitutions in your cooking and baking, you can earn those extra healthy brownie points (if you know what I mean). When you make these ingredient switches, you not only make cleaner and better body foods, but I also use it as an excuse to go back for seconds! Even though a tablespoon of butter has fewer calories than a tablespoon of coconut oil, coconut oil offers nutrients and health benefits that butter does not. Other possible substitutions are using one tablespoon of ground flaxseeds with 3 tablespoons of warm water for an egg, almond milk for milk, full-fat coconut milk for whole milk or whipping cream, coconut sugar for regular white sugar, white flour for almond flour/oat flour (or what I like to do is swap a little out for Sunwarrior protein powder!), or coconut oil for vegetable oil. The possibilities are endless, so get creative and have fun in the kitchen!
One and Done
Do you ever find yourself grabbing little handfuls of chips, mixes, nuts, and other kinds of snacks? Well, when doing this, be mindful! Sure, a small handful of pretzels aren’t bad for you, but what you don’t want is making 10 trips to the buffet table where that small handful of pretzels turns into an entire bag! That’s why it’s important to watch portions. Sometimes it's better to start off with a more realistic serving of something you know you’re going to go back for more of because that way you most likely won’t make as many trips back to the bowl.
Get Out and Smell the Fresh Air!
During this hectic time of the year, I cannot stress how important it is to get out and participate in some healthy movement. It is not only good for the body to get the blood flowing, but it is also good for the mind to get some “you” time! Maybe trying something like yoga, cycling, lifting, or just taking a walk at the beach or in the neighborhood gets you the peace and rejuvenation you need. Getting out and moving is great for the mind as well because sometimes being around family for a prolonged period of time when in a small of a space can be taxing. So why not take a quick break and maybe reflect on all the reasons why you’re thankful for them and wouldn’t want them any other way! Or better yet, invite members of your family to go out with you and make it a fun activity everyone can enjoy!
Be Mindful of When and What You Eat
A great way to stay healthy during the holidays is, if you know that you’re going to indulge, do it at the party or the social event with others. Eat lean prior to the event, so you can spend your calorie alottment during the event. Or, do the opposite by eating before the event, so you are already full and less inclined to indulge. This way you can still feel that you’re participating and enjoying yourself with the group. By paying attention to what you eat and not exceeding an allowed indulgence, you will avoid food guilt later. Also, make choices that are plant-based and full of ingredients offering more nutrients. For example, protein brownies made of black beans, protein powder, flax eggs, coconut sugar is a better option than traditional fudge made with sweetened condensed milk, refined sugar, and butter. But most of all, remember to feed yourself the way you would feed a loved one: healthy and happy with no guilt or shame!
Don’t Restrict; Rejoice!
We all know that relative we who is avoiding the dessert because they’re on a diet. Sure, it’s different if you follow a special lifestyle like vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and others, but understanding your diet and making sure you bring a few options to indulge in in case the host of the event didn’t plan for your dietary habits will make it easier to avoid those things you can’t have by giving you options you CAN have. Health is about balance! Eating healthy nourishes our bodies and minds, and it doesn’t mean you’re restricting, but making conscious and informed choices! Enjoy the Most Wonderful Time of the Year by planning ahead! And if you are allowing an indulgence that you planned for, then the piece of pie you ate is not something you are allowed to feel guilty about. Good eating is not about guilt, it’s about health and happiness!