As the holiday season rolls around and the new year moves closer and closer, there will be a lot more social gatherings that involve—you guessed it—lots of food! We understand that trying to prioritize a healthy diet during these times can be a bit difficult, as there are lots of foods with high fat, sugar, and processed ingredient content making their way to the table. However, there are some super simple ways to maintain healthy eating habits during the holiday season! Believe it or not, one of the tips actually involves eating these foods we call “junk” foods!
Here are 4 tips for healthy holiday eating that will help you feel your best during the season.
Try some new, healthy dishes
It is hard to convince people to break the mold when it comes to popular and traditional holiday dishes. However, there are ways to preserve the dishes you know and love while preparing them with a new, healthier twist.
A great way to do this is by incorporating beans into various dishes! You’d be surprised at how many recipes can taste just as delicious as the “real thing” when you use beans as a substitute for ingredients that are higher in fat or sugar.
Desserts are some of the best dishes to do this with! Check out our Guilt-Free Sweets Cookbook for some inspiration.
Don’t skip meals to “save up” for a feast
Often, people make the mistake of not eating for a while before a gathering that involves food. This is actually counterintuitive; it makes your blood sugar harder to manage which increases the likelihood of overeating!
Plus, it’s reinforcing a message to yourself that you have to “earn” food or fun meals with people you care about. This is a harsh sentiment to put on yourself and can lead to unhealthy thought patterns in relation to food. So, eat like you usually would!
Stay fed throughout the day even if you have a big potluck coming up. The more regulated your body stays with nutrition, the easier it’ll be to eat in moderation.
This leads us to our next tip…
Be sure to eat your holiday “junk” foods—in moderation
You shouldn’t put foods on the “naughty list.” The holiday season is a time when you’re gathering with the people you love; you shouldn’t be keeping yourself from enjoying classic treats like pies, cakes, cookies, and other favorites! However, keep in mind that moderation is key.
The previous tip of eating normally throughout the day when a holiday celebration is coming up helps with this. If your body has the nutrients it needs, you won’t feel the need to gorge yourself on holiday treats. You’ll be able to enjoy a moderate serving, feeling satisfied without feeling the need to “burn it off” afterward.
Once again, moderation is very much a key here, and you should never break dietary guidelines that were put in place by a medical professional. Use common sense and listen to your body!
Stay active and get enough sleep
Your body—and your appetite—is complex and very unique to your circumstances. So, be sure to give yourself all the physical activity and sleep you need to feel your best!
Regular exercise and sufficient sleep can help prevent your blood sugar from spiking and crashing, which can cause you to feel poorly and potentially over-eat. Try to get up and moving every day, and be sure to get your 8 hours of shut-eye!
We want you to feel your best during this holiday season. Follow these tips, and you’ll have a solid healthy eating foundation for the fun times to come. Remember, the holiday season is about making fun memories with the people you love, so prioritize your health, have fun, and enjoy!