By Chris and Eric Martinez
The holiday season is pretty much here For most, it means family gatherings, holiday parties, drinking, and of course, delicious food! Here are 12 tips that will help you lead a healthier holiday season.
1. Don’t Go to Dinner on an Empty Stomach- One of the biggest mistakes you can make is going to Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner feeling hungry. We’re talking about basically starving yourself just to be able to feast at dinner. People tend to eat more and faster when on a very empty stomach. To avoid eating more than you would normally eat, plan your dinner around your normal 4-6 meals.
2. Don’t Splurge on One Macronutrient- We know its Thanksgiving and Christmas, but this doesn’t mean you have to overdo it on the eating. Specifically splurging on one macronutrient.
For example, don’t eat just a plate full of carbs. Imagine your plate in thirds: Cover 1/3 of your plate with a protein, 1/3 with carbs, and the final 1/3 with fats. Also, make sure to throw in a small serving of dessert. Read this for more info on macronutrients.
3. Carbaholics– If you are one of those types of people that loves stuffing yourselves with carbs on Christmas and Thanksgiving, then here’s a tip for you:
Ex) Say you have 4 meals for the day, and the big Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner is around 7 pm. So, for your first 3 meals (not including the dinner), shave off some carbs from those meals, and go ahead and have your big carb meal at dinner.
4. Don’t Skip your workouts– Another big mistake you can make is to skip your regular workout that day. If you train that day or do HIIT cardio that day, this will put your metabolism in a better place when it comes to eating. The nutrients will partition into your muscle cells, rather than fat cells. Read this for more info on HIIT cardio.
5. Pumpkin Pie- One thing that everyone looks forward to at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner is dessert. Pumpkin, the traditional Thanksgiving dessert, is naturally high in fiber and the antioxidant beta-carotene. Remember though, pumpkin may have its benefits, but it is usually served as a pie which is loaded with sugar and high in fat. So, make sure you don’t go too crazy with this and try fitting it into your macros.
6. Eat Foods High in Fiber– Make sure to eat foods high in fiber and here are a couple of reasons why:
- Fiber tends to fill you up faster and help with satiety because fiber tends to sit in your gastrointestinal area (GI) longer, which pulls fluid into that area and makes you fuller faster.
- Fiber is energy costly, meaning your metabolism will have to work very hard to break down the nutrients and this is a good thing because it causes a thermogenic effect (fat burning).
- Fiber will help blunt the secretion of sugar. So, if you have a big dessert, make sure to have some fiber with it.
Read this for more info on Fiber.
7. Don’t be Afraid to Have Alcohol– Instead of fretting over having a couple of alcoholic beverages, read this article to learn how to account for the calories “To drink or not to drink?“
8. Cooking- Try cooking with healthy oils instead of fattening oils. Olive oil, canola oil, coconut oil, and flax oil are all considered healthy sources of good dietary fats.
9. Don’t Skip Meals- Be sure to eat your 4 to 6 meals a day. Just because it’s Christmas or Thanksgiving, doesn’t mean you should be skipping meals. If you skip meals then this will most assuredly mean over eating when the festive foods are in front of you.
10. Have a Protein Shake Before The Big Meal- If for some reason you are extremely hungry, or have skipped meals, then have a scoop of protein mixed in water, almond milk or skim milk an hour before the big dinner. This will help with satiety levels (making you stay full) and will most likely make you not want to splurge at dinner. For more info on why protein is so Dynamic, click here.
11. Take Time For Yourself- The Holidays are stressful for many people. Be sure to take time to relax and unwind. Regarding the holiday, set limits, plan, eat well, get plenty of rest, exercise, keep it simple, and most of all enjoy the Holidays with your family and friends.
12. Don’t Seclude Yourself- Holidays are meant to be fun, social, and full of joy with family and loved ones. Don’t be that snobby person or seclude yourself from social gatherings because you think your tough and hard core with your dieting or nutrition program. Have fun, be social, and make it work 🙂
Happy Holidays Everybody!
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