The holiday season is here, and like many, you’re probably ready to dive headfirst into all the warm dishes and delicious treats. While it’s certainly okay to enjoy your favorite foods here and there, it’s vital to remember to keep your health up.
On average, Americans gain roughly one to two pounds during the holidays. Research shows these pounds tend to stick and accumulate. One of the most significant factors in having good health, and maintaining a healthy weight is your diet. When you’re feeding your body the right foods regularly, your systems get all the nutrients they need to function correctly.
You may wonder how to stay healthy during the holidays when you’re surrounded by so much tasty goodness. Here are some suggestions.
Don’t skip meals. Many people think not eating is the best way to save your appetite for the big feast. But what they don’t know is refusing to eat until dinner can slow down your metabolism and lead to weight gain. By eating breakfast and lunch like you would any other day, you’re giving your body the energy and power it needs to digest everything. If you like having oatmeal with fruit every morning, do so, even during the holiday season.
Control your portions. This time of year, it’s very tempting to overindulge in festive home-cooked meals and treats. However, portion control will be your best friend, says Healthline. Use smaller plates. Watch your portion sizes. Take your time in between bites and try not to take another until you’re finished. Don’t inhale your food. Enjoy it.
Add fruits and veggies. It’s easy to be turned off by vegetables and fruits when you have dishes like mac and cheese, ham, and candied yams in front of you. But don’t neglect the fruits and vegetables. Fruits make great side dishes and snacks for in between meals. Add some colorful veggies like asparagus, carrots, and sweet potatoes. Salads and vegetable-based appetizers, like black bean dip with tortilla chips, are both nutritional and delicious.
Wait for dessert. Did you know that it takes a few minutes for your brain to receive the “I’m full” signal from your stomach? So, take a few minutes to relax after eating before reaching for dessert or seconds. Then, evaluate whether you’re still hungry. Doing so will help you avoid overeating and having that “I’m so full, I can’t move” feeling.
Change your seasonings. Sometimes, it’s not the dish that sinks your diet it’s how you dress it up to serve. Simple tweaks can add a lot of flavor without the extra calories and fat. Try dried seasonings like oregano and crushed red pepper. Instead of butter, try applesauce.
Don’t forget to move. The holidays are a time to relax with your loved ones. Maybe you’re out of town and can’t get to your local gym, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything. If the weather is decent, go for a walk. Put on some music and dance with the family. Follow a yoga video. Whatever you do, make sure you incorporate some movement into your day. Doing so will help your body burn off all that holiday food.