It’s the most wonderful time of the year! And while we love the glittering winter wonderland, family time, and (let’s be honest) presents, it’s also one of the hardest times of the year to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
With things like eggnog, holiday treats, and figgy pudding swirling around us at every home and occasion we go to, it’s a wonder we don’t fall into food comas until the new year.
But don’t worry we’ve got you covered! Check out our favorite healthy holiday hacks to help you make through the holiday season with minimal hassle.
Try intermittent fasting
If you’ve been curious about trying intermittent fasting – the holidays are a good time to give it a shot. In short, intermittent fasting (or IF) is the practice of eating all of your meals within a certain number of hours during the day. Research has shown that consuming all your meals within a set window of time has vast health benefits including regulating your blood sugar, hunger, and hormones – all of which ultimately promote fat loss. To be clear, this doesn’t mean you need to cut out any meals. But rather, try and push your first meal of the day back to 11am and try to finish all your food by 9pm. That would be a 10 hour “eating window”. Or you could be a little more ambitious and do a shorter 6 – 8 hour eating window.
Skip the rolls
This hack is ridiculously simple, but can save you a lot of grief when the holiday season is over. Skip the rolls… and any other pointless “filler” foods. If this sounds easier said than done to you, think of it like this – eating a roll is similar to just eating a plain piece of bread. How often do you do that? Probably not very, so what’s the difference during the holidays? Rolls, crackers, chips, etc. are all there as snacky fillers, so try to focus on the main meals which typically have higher protein and vegetables included. If you know your event is only going to be serving snacks and hor d’oeuvres – eat a full meal at home first so you don’t walk into the party famished and ready to munch on an entire bowl of chips.
Stick to simple drinks
Probably one of the biggest enticers during the holiday season – cocktails filled with sugar, spice, and everything nice… except not really. Mixed drinks any time of year are a sure fire way to kick you off the healthy habit train – but something about holiday drinks are so much more appealing. My advice to you – keep it simple. If you’re going to indulge – soda water is going to be your best friend. It’s sparkly and bubbly, and if you pair it with a lemon or lime wedge, you’ve got yourself a pretty little mixed drink. Or get a little more creative drop some frozen berries inside your glass to give it a little flair. Once you’ve finished your drink, you can refill with plain soda water and other party goers will be none the wiser.
Forego Food Pushers
Peer pressure is a serious thing when it comes to holiday gatherings. There’s always that one person trying to push another piece of pie, drink, or extra helping of potatoes on you. If you find yourself in a situation similar to that, the best tactic I’ve found is the “later” approach. Tell your “food pusher” that you need to digest for awhile but you’ll get more in a little while – even if you have no intention too. More often than not, that person will accept it, leave you alone, and then forget.
Go for the greens first
Eat your vegetables… first. Whenever you can, load up on vegetables before you touch anything else. These fibrous foods take a little longer to digest and will help keep you from going carb-happy during the rest of your meal. Focus on getting in a good amount of leafy greens like spinach, chard, and kale, and less on the legume-based vegetables like snap peas or green beans. If you’re at a restaurant, you can often ask your waiter to swap out the sides of rice, fries, and noodles for sauteed or seasonal vegetables.
So there you have it. Five sure-fire healthy hacks to get you through this holiday season.
If you have any tips or strategies you use, comment below and share!