The holidays can be a tough time to stick to a healthy diet. Here are a few tips to help you stay on track and eat well this holiday season, despite the temptation.
1. Stockpile healthy meals
- Most of us want to spend our time shopping, decorating or seeing friends and family during the holidays, which leaves less time to cook healthy meals.
- Take defensive action several weeks ahead by cooking meals intended for the freezer.
- You can pop one of the meals into the oven or microwave and turn your attention to other holiday tasks.
2. Be selective about holiday treats
- Skip the frozen pie or store-bought cookies, but save some calories in your “budget” to sample treats that are homemade and special to your family.
- Learning what to indulge in and what to skip is much like budgeting money: Do you want to blow it on garbage that you can buy anywhere, or on a one-of-a-kind souvenir?
- Just don’t completely deprive yourself on festive days — your willpower will snap and you’ll end up overeating.
3. Find low-cal flavours
If you’re trying not to over-indulge in sugary, high-carb treats, but you still want to enjoy the tastes of the holidays, look for healthier alternatives to your favourite treats, such as baked apples with cinnamon and a touch of brown sugar rather than a slice of apple pie.
4. Choose pie or potatoes, not both
If you know your favourite pie is being served for dessert, make a decision: Do you want to spend your meal’s carb allowance there or on the mashed potatoes?
Of course, under normal circumstances, you should favour dinner food over dessert, but if you know you can’t resist a small slice of dessert, just make sure you account for the carbs and calories by cutting back elsewhere.
5. Arrive with veggies or fruit
Even if you weren’t asked to bring anything to a New Year’s bash, don’t go empty-handed.
Prepare a platter stacked with your favourite fresh fruits and veggies, along with a low-calorie, low-fat dip.
Munch on these before or during dinner, and you’ll be less tempted to fill up on junk foods.
6. Bring dessert
Find a delicious recipe that’s low in carbs and calories. That way, you’ll know there will be one dessert at the gathering that you can safely eat.
7. Pour gravy and sauces lightly
You may not be able to control what’s being served at a holiday meal, but you can make the turkey, roast beef and even mashed potatoes and stuffing much healthier by forgoing the sauces, or spooning on just a small amount.
8. Make your turkey white
Turkey breast is one of the leanest meats you’ll find if you stick to the breast, not the dark meat (legs and thighs), which is considerably higher in calories and fat. And never eat the skin!
9. Check your blood sugar often
- Despite your best intentions, you may be eating more, or differently, than you do the rest of the year.
- If you have diabetes and are eating outside of home, you may not be able to accurately estimate the amount of carbs you’re eating or know how the foods on the table will affect your blood sugar.
- It’s especially important to check your blood sugar regularly, especially after eating.
Don’t let the holidays wreck havoc on your diet. Instead, follow a few simple tips to help you control your eating while still allowing you to indulge in all of the holiday goodness!