We all know that the holidays are filled with lots of temptations and that eating healthy can sometimes be a daunting task. It’s easy to overindulge when tasty treats are surrounding us at every turn. But with a few simple tips, we can avoid the post holiday guilt (and bloat!) and stick to eating healthy through the season.
1. Think before you eat – Eating isn’t a competition (unless you’ve entered one, and I don’t recommend doing that.) Don’t just rush through your meal. Take a moment to give thanks, whatever that means to you, before chowing down. Eat slowly, and chew your food well before swallowing. Take time to enjoy and savor every bite. You’ll eat less, experience flavors more and it will be easier on your digestion so you’ll feel less bloated and gassy after your meal.
2. Scope out the spread – If you’re at a holiday party, do a walk around the buffet table before starting to fill up your plate. Decide what looks most appetizing to you and which dishes you’d prefer to pass on. Start your meal with lighter fare like fresh veggies, fruit, and crisp greens so you’re starting to feel full before indulging on the heavier stuff. Use a smaller plate and take smaller portions. You can always go back for seconds of the stuff you really like! Plus, the less you eat now, the more leftovers later.
3. Plan your eating for the day – If you know you’re going to be having an indulgent dinner, eat a lighter meal in the morning. Perhaps start off your day with a green juice or smoothie. If you’re the one cooking dinner, lighten up the meal with simply prepared, but delicious foods. For example, try roasting green beans with shallots, instead of making a creamy green bean casserole. Make mashed potatoes with a 50/50 combo of cauliflower and potatoes. Puree them with vegetable broth instead of oil, cream and/or butter, and maybe even add roasted garlic and fresh herbs for extra flavor and flare.
4. Eat before you shop – Unless you do all of your shopping online, you’re likely to end up at the mall at least once during the holiday season. While there, you’ll be tempted by samples of cakes, cookies and chocolates, the lure of lattes, and the scents of grease and stir fry. Eat before you head out to shop to avoid the unhealthy food court fare. If you’re shopping between meals, bring healthy snacks like grapes, crackers or carrot sticks so that hunger doesn’t get the best of you. Finally, plan your mall route so that you don’t pass by the food court or the Starbucks and you’ll be better able to fight any cravings by not allowing yourself to be tempted by them in the first place.
5. Drink plenty of water – Did you know that water is great for battling cravings? If you are craving something or feel a desire to snack, drink a glass of water before giving in to the temptation. Sometimes cravings are our body’s way of telling us that we are on the verge of dehydration, or that we need some comfort or distraction. If you still feel hungry after drinking a glass or two of water, go for that snack, but there’s a good chance you were just thirsty, or maybe even bored. For an added bonus, add a tablespoon of chia seeds to your water. These little superfoods are loaded with antioxidants and minerals your body needs, and because they expand in your stomach, they’ll help curb your cravings and will leave you feeling full.
Also by Christine: How to Survive the Holidays with Your Non-Vegan Family