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The holiday season is a notorious time to overindulge. Be it overeating, overdrinking, etc., we tend to overdo everything. In my family, I’m known for going hard on eggnog because it’s only around for a few weeks in a year. And while 10 years ago, I wouldn’t want it any other way, I’m in my 30’s now and have to pay attention to what I actually eat and how much. I can’t lose 5lbs in my sleep like in my 20’s.
With holiday parties, gifting, families, shopping, samples in stores, and holiday beverages making their presence known, it’s easy to indulge and go overboard and forget about healthy habits this time of year.
Sticking to your typical routine or starting one (now’s a good a time as any) and not overindulging this holiday season is more doable than you think. With some careful planning, self-control (I promise you it’s possible), and determination, you can get through the holidays without packing on pounds and feeling stuck with that over-did-it feeling.
Here are some quick tips you can use to keep you thankful, jolly and merry for the holiday spreads without overdoing it.
How to NOT Overindulge During the Holiday Season
Sometimes, what we think is hunger pangs are actually due to dehydration. Staying hydrated is a great way to keep cravings at bay.
Before jumping into the stuffing, drink some water and wait a few minutes to see if you’re truly still hungry. An easy way to remember to stay hydrated is by keeping a filled water bottle nearby at all times. I use one with measurements to keep track of my daily intake.
Tip: keep a glass or bottle of water on your nightstand or next to your bed so that you can drink it first thing in the morning. Starting your day with water can jumpstart your hydration (the body gets dehydrated as you sleep) and motivate you to keep it up for the rest of the day.
You might think that a good way to keep the overeating and drinking at bay is to not partake at all. If that’s you and it works for you, then more grease to your elbow.
I definitely fall into the camp of “I have to try it” and literally eat everything that’s available (save for ham and sweet potatoes because eww).
What I’ve found to work best is taking a small amount of everything and putting it on my plate to try; if I like it, I eat it, otherwise, it stays on the plate.
If I have to go back for seconds, it’s only for the foods that I actually enjoyed and want more of. Because I’ve already had a small sampling of everything, I’m near full.
Load Up On Healthy Options
While trying a little of everything is definitely helpful, thankfully there are options and even substitutions that can be made to make less of an impact in the calorie department.
Fill your plate with veggie options like collard greens, green beans, sweet potatoes, etc.
Tip: try some of these healthful swaps!
For a green bean casserole, try a recipe with almonds rather than fried onions.
You can also use plant-based milk and cream alternatives for recipes that call for dairy if that’s your jam.
Be Mindful Of What You’ve Eaten
So much time and preparation go into holiday food, especially if it’s homemade. Whoever made it probably poured their heart and soul into it because the holidays are a special occasion.
Savor the food and take the time to actually enjoy what’s on your plate. Slowing down will help you enjoy the moment. It’ll also help you realize you’re full sooner so that you can stop yourself before you overeat.
Strategize and Have a Game Plan
Try the following tricks to be smart about your eating habits on T-Day and the rest of the holiday season:
- Scan the entire spread before deciding which foods to add to your plate.
- Use a smaller plate if you can.
- Save your calories for the foods you truly enjoy.
For example, my mom’s stuffing is the most magical thing in the world and I will cross seas for it. No one messes with me and stuffing on Thanksgiving and I make sure I enjoy stuffing, but it means fewer carbs on my plate like less or no mac and cheese or potatoes, which I’m totally fine with.
Stick To Your Routine
Isn’t it peculiar that the time when we indulge in the most calories happens to be the same time that we want to take a break from our routines?
If you typically start the morning with fruit, a healthy breakfast, exercise, etc., then be sure to keep doing it.
Don’t make excuses or delay restarting until January. Sticking to your routine is how you keep the overeating symptoms at bay and, should you overeat, get back on track.
Drink In Moderation
For the rest, it’s no secret that booze can significantly increase your caloric intake and lead to unwanted pounds and side effects.
This goes for non-alcoholic drinks too; I’m known for overdosing eggnog.
Added sugars add up to your already increased holiday caloric intake.
Enjoy a drink or two in moderation and be sure to drink water in between beverages too.
Strive to Not Have Any or Much Leftovers
While you might’ve spared yourself on the holiday itself, leftovers are just as dangerous.
If you have a large gathering, have to-go boxes or plates ready and encourage guests and families to take food home with them.
If you end up having a lot of leftovers, then continue to practice mindfulness and portion control or repurpose it to make other dishes like turkey noodle soup, turkey pot pie, or infamous leftover sandwiches.
Better yet, call your local food pantry or food bank and ask if they accept leftovers, both unused ingredients and food that’s already been prepared.
Moderation Is Key
The holidays are a time of togetherness, making new memories, and enjoying amazing food. It’s more than possible to enjoy yourself this holiday season without busting the belt.
What are some tricks you use so that you don’t overindulge during the holiday season? Share below!
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