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The holidays (or vacations or parties) can be a difficult time for people to stay on track with their healthy habits. Over the years I have developed some habits that have made it easy for me to go to a party and not regret my eating decisions the next day, and not gain weight over the holidays.
This wasn’t an overnight thing. This was many parties, holidays, and vacations, over many years of practicing these habits. That’s all they are. Habits. Something you do over and over again until you do them effortlessly.
You can do this. It’s not about willpower, it’s about being prepared. Pick 3 or 4 of your favorites from my tips below and try them out this holiday season.
13 Tips for Making Better Choices During the Holidays
1. Schedule exercise
It’s so easy to get busy during this season and forget to workout or not make time for it. Exercise not only burns calories, and builds muscle, it also boosts our feel-good hormones. The better we feel, the better decisions we make. Put it on your calendar as a non-negotiable. Better yet, schedule it with a friend, so it’s hard to cancel. Shoot for at least 2 times a week. Doing it outside in the fresh air gets you bonus points.
2. Buy and make some healthy treats and have them ready at all times
Keep some in your purse, your desk drawer at work, your car. When we get hangry (hungry + angry) we make bad decisions, so make sure you always have some good options available.
Here are some of my favorites: Dark chocolate, trail mix, GoMacro bar, Hail Merry, Merry Bites in flavors like Caramel Sea Salt and Dark Chocolate
And some recipes to make your own:
3. Do a mini-cleanse before the holidays to get rid of the sugar cravings
Check out my post on Top 5 Ways to Spring Clean Your Body. It goes over instructions on how to do an easy Juice Fast. This helps to re-set your body and eliminate cravings.
4. Eat before you go to that party
Drink a green smoothie, eat a nourishing, immunity-boosting soup such as this Tom Kha Soup. Save some for after the party if you did have too much sugar or alcohol.
5. Bring a dish to pass that is healthy
Some of my favorites are:
Indian Spiced Cashews (recipe below)
Or just some cut up veggies and grab some healthy hummus (make sure to find one with healthy oils and no added junk). We love a local brand, Deena’s Gourmet Hummus.
Indian Spiced Cashews
- 2 Cups raw unsalted cashews
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground fenugreek
- 1/2 teaspoon ground chili pepper.
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Toss the cashews and extra-virgin olive oil together on a baking sheet.
In a small bowl mix all the spices together.
Sprinkle over the cashews, turning to coat thoroughly.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until golden brown and fragrant. Serve warm.
6. If you’re going to indulge, make sure it tastes FABULOUS!
Choose something that’s extra special, that you can’t get every day. Be mindful, slow down and chew, and enjoy every bite.
7. Track your food
If you know you struggle with grazing or eating too much, try the MyFitnessPal app. Track every bite of everything that you eat. It will not only make you conscious of everything you’re putting in your mouth and how fast those calories add up, it will make you think twice about taking a bite of every little thing. I’m not for tracking your food every day, that takes the joy out of eating! However, it is a tool you can use during the holidays.
8. If you suffer from strong cravings, try this
Allow the cravings to be for as long as you can without acting on them. Just notice the cravings. Resisting them gives them more power. Don’t ignore them or try to distract yourself. Notice them. Talk to them (maybe not at a party ;)). Accept them and they will lessen. If you eventually give in to the craving, no problem, make it well worth it and make the best choice possible. Over time, the cravings will have less power over you.
9. Drink in moderation
Decide ahead of time how many drinks you are going to have and stick to it. Bring some sparkling water with you and have that instead of alcohol or in between drinks.
10. Set your intention
I do this before every meeting, party, vacation, etc…. I set my intention. For example, I intend to remember at least 3 people’s names. I intend to have 3 cocktails with water in between every one. I intend to nourish my body with one plate of food and be done eating. You get the idea.
11. Don’t graze
Take one plate and fill it with what makes you and your body happy. Don’t go back for more. Make sure that at least half your plate is veggies. Engage in meaningful conversations and stay away from the food table. You’re not hungry!!
Avoid these at the food table altogether: refined flour, trans fats, artificial foods. Look for homemade, these will be better than the store-bought versions for you.
12. Engage in lots of self-care
When you feel good, you’re more likely to want to keep feeling good and make better choices. Take lots of baths, dry brush, and drink lemon water in the am to help flush your liver.
13. Bring along a healthy mint
Peppermint is good for digestion and can signal to your body to stop eating. Pop one as soon as you’ve finished your one plate of food.
Above all else, don’t beat yourself up. Enjoy the holidays. Do your best. If something doesn’t go as planned, take a deep breath. Review what you could do differently and set your intention for next time.
With love + gratitude,
Be sure to come back and let me know what worked for you.