Oh, the holidays! With Christmas right around the corner and the New Year almost upon us, opportunities to overindulge are plentiful. Use our healthy holiday survival guide with simple tips from our in-house holistic nutritionist, Laura De Sanctis so you can have a stress-free and balanced holiday season!
As a holistic nutritionist, I have many clients ask me some tips and tricks to stay on course during the holiday season and I don’t blame them. With all the temptations around us, how can we either say no or indulge once in a while? My go-to tip: Choose your indulgences wisely, and opt to eat good quality, whole foods.
Five Healthy Holiday Survival Guide Tips!
Now, I am not expecting everyone to count their macros or calories (I don’t encourage counting calories) but it’s still a good idea to track what you eat and what you drink. This is a good indicator as to what you’re consuming and how often you’re consuming something during the holidays. Maybe, just maybe you’ve had hot chocolate every day for the last week. Let’s hope not! But regardless, a food diary log or even a food tracking app helps.
BE MINDFUL OF OUR INDULGENCES
When indulging during the holiday season, try to choose something that is home-made over store-bought. I prefer to make home-made gluten-free chocolate chip cookies during the holidays, instead of having six store-bought cookies, that are full of bad fats, empty calories and processed with many times, rancid oils.
DON'T SAVE OR RESTRICT CALORIES
This is a big no-no! I know many people that show up to a holiday party feeling hungry or famished. But why not eat healthy throughout the day before you go? I am adamant about people eating healthy throughout the day so you are less tempted to eat something that is nutrient void. When you calorie restrict, skip meals and then binge at night, you store those calories as fat. Your weight, mood, and insulin fluctuate. When you skip meals, your insulin elevates. Insulin is your fat storage hormone. When you skip meals, you may feel cranky or in my case, hangry, and want to eat crazy, fatty foods. Do yourself a favour and eat foods that nourish your body year round, don’t wait for New Years to do it.
ENJOY ALCOHOL IN MODERATION
Like everything, alcohol should be consumed in moderation. Alcohol should be kept to a minimum. I would opt to drink 1-2 drinks. There are so many empty calories and sugar in alcohol. Many times it turns to yeast and ferments in the body. Aside from the empty calories, alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it dehydrates you. Not only does it increase cortisol (which we don’t want) but it increases the hormone- estrogen in the body which promotes weight gain. It’s empty calories, so why waste it on alcohol?
Allow yourself to indulge then get back on track. One of the best ways, is to practice self-control. Ask yourself, do you really need to eat that or do you want to eat that? To me, I also am of the mindset: out of sight, out of mind. Have your indulgence or cheat meal with family and friends. Spend your holiday party or dinner with friends and loved ones without the food restrictions or without being consumed with how nutritionally beneficially or nutrient void the foods are. If you see a food or beverage you like and you haven’t had it in awhile, give yourself permission to enjoy it, instead of beating yourself up over it. Have your cheat meal and enjoy your holiday party. Then get back on track the next meal- no excuses!
To help you stay on track during the holiday season, set boundaries. Set boundaries for the holiday parties you will commit to, and the food you are going to have around your house and the things you want to do. Enjoy your special holidays, but remember to eat food that makes you feel amazing. Support yourself by eating and having healthy food in your home.
Remember, the holiday season is not the entire month. So plan out what you are going to do, commit and show up in ways that support your goals. Don’t forget your goals and don’t let food or beverages get you distracted by your health and wellness goals. Maybe bring some healthy food to a holiday party or limit yourself to one or two holiday cocktails. Visit Avazera's recipe section for some healthy recipe inspiration!
What else would you include in your healthy holiday survival guide?
Wishing you all a happy, healthy holiday!