The holidays can feel like they last months. The end of October through the beginning of January the holidays can be all we talk about from the travel to the parties to the food.
During this time people often write off any healthy habits they once had and throw them out the window with the notion that they’ll start over in January. Or they take the opposite approach and do juice cleanses and quick fix diets between each holiday to try and stay slim and trim and justify eating more than they can handle for one day.
The problem with the extreme of saying “screw it” all holiday season long and the other extreme of fad diets is that neither of those are sustainable or enjoyable.
Both leave you feeling sluggish, kind of gross, and don’t result in long term weight maintenance or health.
My name is Leena and I’m a practical nutritionist. Today I’m sharing a short guide to healthy holiday eating so you can walk away from this season feeling normal around food and in control of your decisions.
Practical Tip #1 - Mindset
When it comes to food, mindset matters more than you’d think. Here are some important reminders I tell my clients to note during the holidays.
Practical Tip #2 - Structured Meal Times
We structure everything in our days from the time we wake up, to the times we work, to the time we spend with family or running errands. Why not have some structure to our meal times? Eating is something we have to do several times a day. Having a rough plan around it even during the holidays can help you stay structured and on plan.
For a lot of my clients this looks like eating breakfast anytime between 8 and 10am, lunch anywhere between 12-2pm, and dinner somewhere around 5-8pm depending on the person. While this seems obvious, it’s really easy for people to skip meals around the holidays in an attempt to save room for a bigger holiday meal often leading to a binge, overeating, and restricting the next day following an unhealthy cycle of under and over eating.
Spreading out your calories more evenly throughout the day between 3 meals helps keep your hunger managed, your hormones in balance, and your decision making around food choices more in control when you’re sitting in front of the pies and potatoes at the next holiday party.
Practical Tip #3- Balanced Plates with a Sprinkle of Fun
The holidays are just one day but the days around the holidays can often feel like an extension of the fun. Because there are plenty of food opportunities around the holidays, it’s a good general rule of thumb to follow a balanced plate structure most of the time and sprinkle in fun food once a day.
A balanced plate consists of fiber, fat, and protein. The portion sizes will depend on the person but when you fill up on mostly whole foods that are filling the protein, fiber, and fat, you can more easily manage your portion sizes of fun, more indulgent foods.
This helps ensure you’re eating nutrient dense, overall healthy foods, without restricting the fun stuff or overeating it.
It’s a practical balance and the best of both worlds.
Enjoy the holidays and remember, balance is key!
Healthy Holiday Sugar Cookies
Low Sugar Icing: