The holiday season is approaching! Though the holidays are meant to be a joyous time of the year, trying to maintain health can be overwhelming. We asked you what your toughest health hurdles are so we can help you tackle them and stay on track during the holiday season!
The Toughest Holiday Hurdles: Tips and Tricks to Stay On Track
"Overindulging in cookies."
Those sweet and delectable cookies on most holiday platters are hard to pass on. And with the vast assortment that generally appears, wanting to experience the tastes of them all is certainly reasonable. But instead of indulging on all of the available, colorful cookies, choose the one or two you look forward to the most. If you are in charge of bringing the cookie tray, create better-for-you options such as this bistroMD healthy holiday gingerbread cookie or utilize these five secrets for baking healthier cookies.
"Not eating too many sweets."
Cookies are not the only anticipated sweet at the dessert table! But like enjoying cookies, take a moment to reflect. And when it comes to not overdoing it, step away from the sweets once you have plated your favorites. If wanting to indulge and try all the different options, split the treats so you do not feel tempted to eat the entire calorie-rich, fat and sugar-laden item. Healthy baking swaps with some of these ingredients can also keep calories, sugar, and fat in check.
"The tendency to graze and eat constantly rather than at predefined meals."
Grazing is to be anticipated and expected with so much food conveniently at your fingertips. But with such discipline of predefined meals leading up to the holiday season, remember how good it feels to stay on track. As much as possible, stick to mealtimes and listen to hunger and satiety cues. Try to remain fully aware on whether or not you are hungry, or if it is a feeling of impulse. Additionally, sitting down at a designated eating area can further reduce the risk of grazing.
"All the social events and traveling, where I can't use my bistroMD meals, so I have to make good decisions for every meal… And not just the occasional one."
Enjoying bistroMD meals can certainly be achieved with a little more effort, including packing a cooler. But we understand holidays are meant to be enjoyed and we do not want to add any more stress during this joyous time of year. We do, though, try to equip you with lifelong skills to make good decisions and offer ongoing support. After making good decisions during that occasional meal, we fully believe in you! Trust in yourself, you have come so far already!
"Trying to maintain good portion control and prevent overeating."
The concept of portions seems to go out the door come holiday season. However, sticking to portions during the holidays may be one of the most important times to set this notion in place, largely related to the vast supply of rich foods. Maintain good portions and prevent overeating by utilizing smaller plates and eating slowly, closely paying attention to satiety cues. Drinking a glass of water prior to meals can also discourage the risk of overfilling on food. If you still feel hungry after the first plate, wait at least 10 minutes. Find more tips for portion control and real weight loss here.
"Waiting too long between meals and then mindlessly eating."
Instead of “saving up” for the big holiday party, it is still important to pay attention to your body’s hunger and satiety cues. So rather than ignoring the cues, it is okay to feed into them! Still carry on your day with sound, nutritious choices to keep hunger at bay, ultimately reducing the risk of mindless eating once the event does come.
"Having the best intentions in the morning, but temptations arise throughout the day."
Starting the day off on the right foot can pave the whole rest of your day. First off, start by eating a well-balanced breakfast rich in protein, as it can keep you feeling full until mid-morning and lunch hours. If temptations start to arise, try to not let such temporary feelings take over. Instead, fuel the day with healthy, conscious choices, as consistently doing so can create good habits and diminish temptation risk altogether.
"The sheer volume of food, largely from carb and butter-laden sources, and the delicious tastes of them."
Maybe it’s the association of the holidays, but foods tend to taste even more delicious come holiday season. Not only are the tastes desirable, there is an extensive volume of food that flood the tables of holiday parties and get-togethers, largely from carb and butter-laden sources. Generally, though, healthful options do exist at holiday parties and functions, they just do not seem as appealing. To reduce the intake of too many carbs and fats, start by filling the plate with veggie options along with a protein source. The combination of fiber and protein can assist in satiation, thus lessening the risk of overindulging on rich, mass volumes of foods.
"Avoiding unhealthy foods."
Though you do not necessarily need to avoid foods, it is important to keep their intake in modest amounts. Put into practice the concept of “out of sight, out of mind!”. If overdoing it on “unhealthy” foods is inevitable, try to keep your distance. Standing close to such foods increases their invitation to overeat them, even if you are not hungry or truly enticed by their flavor.
"Managing the busy, holiday schedule with not having enough time to properly plan, shop, cook, etc. Ultimately, ending up eating fast food too often."
In an already busy society, letting associated holiday activities and duties interfere with nutritious meals is understandably likely. bistroMD offers well-balanced meals right to your doorstep, eliminating the need to plan or shop for ingredients. Additionally, bistroMD’s simple guide to meal preparing can further assist you on staying on track this holiday season.
"The enjoyment of socializing and cocktails, while making smart choices."
Holiday parties tend to come with wine dinners, champagne toasts, or even fully-stocked bars. Though enjoying yourself at social events can be assisted with cocktails, try to stick to only a drink or two. Casually sip between your drink and a glass of water to reduce the opportunity of overdoing it. When choosing your beverage of choice, try to steer away from mixers loaded with unwanted sugar.
"Managing stress with alcohol."
Although alcohol can be consumed in a smart manner, reaching for drinks as a coping mechanism is not ideal. With holiday stress rising, doing so may be the easiest way to take the edge off. A glass of wine can certainly be relished, but if you find yourself pouring glass after glass, it may be worthy to switch gears. Instead of seeking out alcohol, manage stress in other ways – whether it be a walk, an intense workout, through music, or lost in your favorite book.
"Not going for my family's classics."
Instead of not going for family classics in full force, go with ease! Those anticipated classics can, and should, be enjoyed. However, go about their intake in moderation. Take small scoops and eat sensibly, appreciating the flavors of how you imagine them each year. Additionally, you do not have to indulge in all of the classics at once – feel free to take home a “doggy bag” and appreciate them at a later time.
"Traditional favorites and appetizers at all the potlucks and parties."
The holidays may not feel like the holidays without traditions. However, staying healthy during the holidays does not have to eliminate your favorite classical meals and appetizers. To keep their servings in check, take small portions and focus mostly on your absolute favorites. The rest of the options may be welcoming of your attention, but there may be a reason they did not land on your “favorite” list!
"Still trying to lose weight."
First off, kudos to those still trying to lose weight during the holiday season! Most individuals tend to rationalize not losing weight, to the notoriously expected “holiday” or “winter” weight gain. When still trying to lose weight during this time, still give it your best effort just like during any time of the year. Most experts will agree instead of being hard on yourself for not losing weight, try to maintain weight during the holidays and to not fall back into old habits.
"Not using the holidays as an excuse to binge".
Though holidays can and should be enjoyed, binging should not be justified during any season. It is important to eliminate the concept of “binging” and look to food in a different, healthier way. Instead of seeking out holiday food to consistently overindulge, practice the concept of mindful eating. Pay attention to how the food tastes, what feelings it provides, and how it nourishes the body. Learn more about binge eating here.
"Being much less active, as I spend a lot of time sitting around with family."
What is perceived as a negative can easily be transformed into a realistic positive. It is great to be spending time with family. But instead of sitting around, make the time spent together into an activity! Gather family members for a friendly game of kickball or any other recreational game, walk the family dog, hike a nearby state park, or enjoy these holiday party themed games and activities, sure to please all family members!
"Staying active when it's colder outside."
In addition to getting active with family mentioned above, it may be difficult to stay motivated and active in the cool air. However, getting in an effective workout does not have to mean going out in the cool air. In fact, they can be tackled and achieved right in the warm comfort of your own home! Ideas include simple commercial break workouts, a 30-minute boot camp workout, a complete full-body yoga workout, or these 10-minute workout ideas!