By Cara Regas
It’s that time of year again. Yes, the holidays have arrived and so has the food! The classic gifts of frankincense and Muir have been replaced by excessive amounts of fudge and cookies. Although they look delicious, they are loaded with unnecessary calories. I know what you are thinking: it’s the holidays; I can afford to splurge a little because I have been doing so well with my eating habits and exercise routine. Yes, maybe you can splurge a little, but the trouble with splurging “a little,” is that the little turns to overindulgence. Here are a few tips to avoid overeating while still enjoying the delicious food of the holiday season.
- Eat balanced meals that include some protein and fat. Protein and fat will help balance your energy level and prevent low blood sugar. Preventing low blood sugar will aid in resisting those sugary treats.
- Choose low-calorie options. Eat more vegetables and salads first to help fill you up before you eat the main courses. Avoid cream sauces and tablespoons of butter. Limit your intake to lean meats, light sauces, and vegetables. If you are unsure if those options will be at the party, bring your own healthy dish.
- Limit portion size. If given the option, eat your meal off of a salad plate (to help control portions). If not, make sure you can see the plate underneath your helpings of food. If Aunt Martha will be offended if you don’t try everything she made (even though it is high in fat), take small spoonfuls of everything. If there are many small scoops on your plate, you will be less likely to offend anyone and less likely to go back for second helpings.
- Eat regularly the day of a big party. Don’t starve yourself all day because you know you have a big party to attend that night. Eat as you normally would and that should help keep you from overeating at the party.
- Enjoy what holiday parties are there for: mingling and catching up with friends and family. Don’t spend the whole time eating, talk to the other guests during dinner and cocktail hour. That will take your mind off of your plate and on to something more important – building relationships!
- Maintain your activity level. With relatives in town, many people put aside their exercise routines to socialize with friends and family. Well, include them in your activity. Think of creative ways to get active with your family (even if they are all at different fitness levels). Go for walks looking at Christmas lights, play Frisbee, go for a walk on the beach or in the mountains, take a class at your local gym. Try not to save your activity until later. There is no better time than now.
Holidays are a fantastic time of getting together, sharing, and celebrating. Please remember the real reason to celebrate is spending time with one another and building our relationships. Relationships will take you a lot farther in life than spending your time over indulging on holiday feasts. Be aware of what you are eating and how much exercise you are getting. Above all, enjoy yourself by partaking in the festivities and let the holiday spirit move you to healthy eating and happy exercise!
Wishing you and yours a Happy and Healthy holiday season!
Cara Regas (MA, ATC, ACE-certified personal trainer) is a strength and conditioning coach and an athletic trainer at Fitness Quest 10.