Holiday festivities are in full swing! If your calendar was not full before the start of December, our guess is it most certainly is now. From office parties to family get-togethers, there is no shortage of delicious foods available most days of the week at this point. The holidays are when we set aside time – or squeeze it in – to be with the ones we love and participate in celebrations of all sorts. However, this is also a season when maintaining your active lifestyle and healthy diet can be difficult. The great news is that you can celebrate and keep your health in check at the same time! All you need is a little prep work and some determination. Innova Primary Care wants your holiday time to be the best on yet. Read on for tips to help keep your nutrition on track and your festivities merry.
A recent survey of 2,000 found that at least seventy percent of us planning on attending at least one party this season.
Winter, also known as the “socializing season,” is a time where we will spend around 25 hours socializing and attend approximately 11 festive occasions. With all that mingling, it is plain to see how easy it can be to throw your hands up in dismay and give up on your diet. Office parties, sit-down holiday dinners, neighborhood get-togethers, and friendship celebrations will take up a lot of your time and each one will give you the chance to overindulge.
Plan Your Holiday Diet
You can enjoy your holiday and stick to your goals by keeping nutrition, activity, and rest at the forefront.
First off, let’s talk food. During the holiday season, there is always something tempting on the table. Tables loaded with sweet and savory foods and beverages. Rather than foregoing gatherings altogether, take these tips to heart so that you can enjoy this special time.
- Don’t skip meals.
It’s tempting to try and “save calories” before a big shindig, however, this can lead to overeating because you are so hungry. Rather than skipping meals, stick to your regularly scheduled meal times. If you are hungry beforehand, opt for fiber-rich foods like fruits and vegetables, and protein to help alleviate hunger and prevent you from going overboard.
- Keep your blood sugar balanced
Fiber assists with digestion and helps keep you full for longer. For the average adult female, shoot for between 21 to 25 grams of fiber each day. Adult men generally need between 31 to 38 grams.
- Stay hydrated.
Hunger can often mimic thirst, so be sure that you are consuming enough water throughout the day.
- Be selective
Choose your favorite foods and skip the rest. One of the reasons the holidays are so fun is because of the special once-a-year treats we all get to experience. For some, it may be grandma’s secret recipe cookies. For others, a savory dip is what they always look forward to.
With this in mind, choose your favorites and pass up the foods that don’t spark your interest.
- Satisfaction not stuffed
It’s tempting to load up a plate or constantly graze, however, you can end up mindlessly overeating past the point of satiety. Rather than stuffing yourself, take it slow and stop eating when you are full. On that note, don’t let others try and push food onto you. If you are full, politely decline.
- Don’t drink your calories.
This time of year, the alcohol is freely flowing. However, alcoholic beverages are higher in calories and over-consumption can lead to decreased judgment. Monitor your alcohol use and don’t skimp on the water.
- Savor the moment.
Holiday celebrations are really about the people you get to spend time with. The gatherings are a way to unite us and remind us of the love we share for one another. Yes, the food is often fantastic, but if you can shift your mindset towards the experience and not the dessert table, you may be able to make better nutrition choices.
- Ditch the guilt
Last but not least, one meal or event won’t derail your progress. There is no need to feel guilt or shame of your food choices. Remember how eating too much made you feel and move on. There’s always another party!
Make sleep a part of your diet
It’s easy to think sticking to your nutrition is the only thing that keeps you from making poor dietary choices, but don’t forget about sleep.
This time of year can be incredibly stressful. From constant business to heightened emotions, taking care of yourself also means getting proper rest. Did you know that sleepless nights can impact appetite hormones? While at rest, your body is hard at work regulating hormones.
Sleep impacts ghrelin and leptin, two appetite hormones. Ghrelin signals satiety (fullness) while leptin signals hunger. When you don’t get enough sleep, ghrelin levels increase while leptin levels decrease meaning you feel hungrier and less satisfied. To combat overeating, it is wise to get the proper amount of rest. Be sure to prioritize sleep during the holidays.
Even with the hustle and bustle of the season, try and maintain your active lifestyle. Movement is so important for mental and physical health. Exercise also helps decrease stress and can help regulate your appetite. While you certainly have a ton on your to-do list, be sure that including regular exercise makes the cut.
This may not be the season for long endurance runs or marathon lifting sessions in your home gym. In fact, you might not be anywhere close to home or your fitness spots. In these cases, do what you can to stay active. Keep your daily movement up and opt for workouts that can be done with minimal equipment or in short bursts.
The holidays do not have to derail your nutrition. With a few simple tweaks and a mindful mindset, you can enjoy the socializing season and start out the new year feeling like your old self.