[delay +6 days]
There are three types of dieters on holidays: the ones who stick to the plan, the ones who ditch it totally and the ones who wander on and off and feel guilty about it.
Staying on diet or simply eating clean is challenging for lots of us. And it’s understandable.
It seems so weird to avoid some festive treats or a beer or two on parties. Leave alone to weigh food and to count macros.
So if you are the third type of person that struggles to stay on track, here are some practical tips to eating clean on holidays.
1. Consider healthy alternatives
When you are hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas parties, you have the control over what kinds of food are served.
Most traditional “festive” food are super duper calorie-dense. But with a little twist, they can be turned into a much healthier version.
For exempla, removing the skin from turkey can cut off part of the fat. Replace normal sugar in dessert with stevia or erythritol will reduce your sugar intake at least by half.
If you are looking for snacks or appetizers for your big holiday dinner, consider making using green vegetables as the main ingredients. They provide nutrients we need like vitamins and minerals, and will keep you full for a long time.
2. A pre-party meal
During holidays, we are not always the one preparing the food. If you are out to parties or family gatherings, try to eat something in advance.
It’s very likely that you’ll be faced with all kinds of temptation when you are eating out. And going out for a festive dinner empty-stomached is like throwing a dry sponge into a greasy pan.
So fill yourself up a little with vegetable or lean meat before parties or gatherings. It will make it easier for you to control what you eat for the night.
3. Stay hydrated
One of the easiest trick to beat holiday binge is to have a glass of water at hand anytime anywhere you go. Yes, water, not coke or juice or beer.
Our mind is tricky. Sometimes it confuses the signal of thirst with hunger. If you are feeling hungry, sometimes you’re actually thirsty.
Before reaching for chocolate bars or fries, drink a glass of water and decide if the hunger stays. If you don’t like the plain taste of water, switch it with herbal tea, lemonade or apple cider vinegar.
4. Smaller plate
One thing that makes healthy holiday eating so difficult is the way we consume the food. At family dinner or party, most of us are talking, having fun while eating our food on the plate. We tend to eat more than we need when we are distracted.
Having a smaller plate to place your food will make portion control easier. Also fill your plate with vegetables and good protein first to curb your appetite. Desserts can always wait.
5. Try your best to avoid alcohol
Alcohol cripples your will power, and also add excess calories to your diet.
A beer or two is totally acceptable on a Christmas party. But getting totally drunk will waste plenty of calorie quota for the actual good food. So set a limit, and stick to it.
6. Beat stress or boredom with hobbies or healthy habits
Holidays can be chaotic. With social obligations, gift hunting and food preping all come down to play, our stress level can skyrocket even when we are on a break.
For some of us, however, the extra free time to spend on holiday may leave us with huge emptiness.
When we are bored or stressed, oftentimes we turn to food for comfort. So if you tend to binge or overeat under these circumstances, list your favorite things to do on paper and put it somewhere you can see.
Those can be watching Netflix, crafting, a hot bath, playing with your dog…Anything that will keep your attention off from food.
7. Take a nap
If you are feeling tired, it’s more easy for you to binge.
Moreover, according to nutritionists, our body secretes hormones to raise blood sugar when we sleep in order to keep us ready for waking up. And our appetite reduces after a nap.
So try taking a nap in between meals, that may help to restore your energy from holiday bustle and calm your hunger.