Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years are just three days out of the year. A little splurging on these days isn’t going to push you over the edge. However, falling into a pattern of daily sweets and treats, which often starts at Halloween, is what can really add up and lead to weight gain.
There are many strategies we can use to regain our healthy lifestyles even during the holidays. Start with plenty of exercise to burn off those extra holiday calories. Consider some fun winter activities you can enjoy with your family: ice skating can burn as much as 400-600 calories per hour, snowshoeing can burn up to 700 calories per hour and a brisk hour-long walk can burn 250 to 350 calories.
Eat a healthy breakfast everyday. Studies have confirmed that people who eat breakfast eat fewer calories throughout the day. This can be true during the holidays as well. In addition, if you are going to a holiday party where you know there will be a lot of tempting, high-calorie treats, eat a healthy snack such as a green salad or veggie sandwich on whole grain bread before you go. You’ll be less likely to devour the entire cheese plate if you’ve already had a little something to eat. When you do encounter that cheese plate or dessert table, just take a small sample and make sure to consider how many calories you’ve already consumed. If you are served a large piece of pie, consider cutting it in half or quarters to share with your fellow revelers and go light on any sauces or whipped topping.
If you are cooking for a crowd or bringing a dish to share, consider some healthy options to balance out the other choices. There are a lot of things to be creative with – fruit platters, vegetable salads, bean soups – your options are endless. Or try a healthy take on a traditional dish by substituting low or no fat ingredients. Another strategy to deploy during the holidays: check your weight every few days. If you confirm that the holidays are doing a number on your weight and waistline, it’s time to cut back on the treats and get some activity in.
The holidays are all about family, tradition, and celebration. It’s a time to eat right with some special treats along the way. For many people, the holidays are the most stressful time of year. A balanced diet can help you cope with holiday stress while a diet high in fats and sugars can leave you feeling drained and compromise your immune system. With a balanced diet and regular exercise, you can enjoy the season the most by feeling your best.