It has been proven that people put on weight during holidays, especially people with some overweight. And we all know is not that easy to get rid of those extra kilos during the following months.
Even if you are not living in your home country, holiday celebrations, social activities and edible gifts are part of the season in all places in the world. So, how can you survive without turning down all of your friends and family? Is not that you have to be on a rigorous diet plan during December, it’s all about following some useful strategies to save up extra calories.
- Don’t go to the extremes
You don’t have to throw all your year’s effort by the window on December; it is about using the word moderation. Enjoy the season! If you have a small piece of cake or a gingerbread cookie, it’s ok! No excesses that is all!
- Make healthier substitutions on your recipes
If you are the kind of person that loves baking in the holidays or you have people coming over for dinner, make your favorite recipes healthier!
|Instead of this||Use this|
|Butter or margarine||Reduced fat butter, organic almond or cashew butter or vegetable oil such as olive, linseed, coconut oil|
|Cream cheese, mayonnaise or sour cream||Low fat plain yogurt or soy yogurt|
|Sugar||Use half of the amount on the recipe or use organic stevia instead|
|Milk or evaporated milk||Low fat milk or organic soy/organic milk (unsweetened)|
|Egg||1 egg = 2 egg whites
If the yolk is required in the recipe, reduce the total amount of them and increase the egg whites proportion
|Matured cheeses||Low fat cheeses such as cottage, feta, ricotta|
|Candied fruit||Fresh natural fruit or dried fruit with no sugar added|
- It’s not about having all, is about sharing
The true spirit of holidays is to share with your friends and family, so if someone gives you a box of chocolates, take your portion and share the rest! Also, you don’t need to try everything. Think about what are your favorite choices of holiday’s food and give those the priority. Serve yourself small portions and take your time to enjoy them.
- Avoid drinking the calories
Every party or dinner you are invited, has always the drinking part (alcoholic and non-alcoholic also). Even if you just meet with a friend for a coffee, you are just adding up calories. You have to be careful of what are you drinking and avoid sodas, cocktails, sweetened teas or coffees, lemonades, shakes, fruit juices, wine and beer which are all full of just empty calories. Don’t panic, here is the strategy:
- Bottle of water lover: carry your bottle of water to every single place you go, and keep refilling it. You can add some flavor with herbal tea or also with splashes of a fruit juice or even a fruit piece (like a lemon slice) in the water.
- Not a water lover? Try soda water + lime instead, or ask for virgin cocktails without sugar (like a virgin mojito with no sugar added or a virgin bloody mary).
- Coffee or tea? Plain without sugar or with only a small sip of your type of milk.
- Put a limit on drinks: one glass of wine or one light beer have less than 100 calories, so they are fine, but make sure you don’t have more than 2-3 per night. Another option is to mix spirits with soda or water and just a splash of a fruit juice for flavor. If you are a strong drinker, drink half of what you are used to drink, that will make a difference. And above all, avoid the cocktails; they are just full of empty calories.
- Stay active
Holidays are not holidays from training! Balance the extra social calories with your workouts and extra physical activities such as playing outdoors with your kids or pets, taking walks in family, not using the lifts when you are doing your holiday shopping, doing a deep house cleaning, etc.
Here is a survival guide for holiday’s parties:
- Planning: prepare beforehand low-calorie meals for you to have during the day, so you know you can eat a bit more during the event. Also, as said before, if you have to bring a dish to the dinner you are going, make it healthier but still delicious.
- Don’t go hungry: If you have been restricting yourself during the whole day to eat more at night, it’s normal that once you are there you want to eat everything. It is good to eat less during the day but don’t starve yourself! A good strategy is to eat a light snack before going to the party or dinner, for example a piece of fruit high in fiber (like a guava) that will keep you safe from overeating entrees and snacks until dinner.
- Be careful with snacking: chips and dips, mixed nuts, deli and cheese with bread or crackers… all sounds yummy, but how many calories can you have on them and not even getting yet to the proper dinner? Beforehand, bring to share one or two options of healthy snacks (such as veggie sticks with low fat dip or fresh fruit) so you can still snack.
- During dinner: Before deciding what to put on your plate, take a look to all that is offered and choose what you really want to eat. Try to have always half of your plate in vegetables and salad, avoiding them to be full of sauces or butter. Then serve yourself small portions of what you want to taste. Don’t repeat.
- Desserts: If it’s really worth it, take a small bite of the cake or dessert. If there is more than one, choose the one that looks more appealing. Don’t accept to take some home.
Remember that holidays is not just about eating and drinking. The idea of getting together to celebrate is to share with your friends and family, so don’t make your celebrations be food-centered. Follow these useful strategies and enjoy this holidays without any sense of guilt! Happy Holidays!