I bet the title of this post grabbed a lot of your attention!
Why do we all get stressed out during this time when it should be a time of celebrating with friends and family? So many people think they can just write off the time between Thanksgiving and New Years because "it's the holidays". Well, you can put on a few pounds during that time and they ARE NOT EASY TO TAKE OFF.
Do you know that you can gain upwards of 20 pounds during Halloween and New Years? Think about all of the Halloween candy, then all of the holiday treats, and all of the parties and celebrations we go to during the holiday season. Those pounds can easily add up.
And let's not forget the horrible feeling that goes with that. It's not just about weight, it's also about being healthy and feeling good. And when you eat poorly for that long it makes you feel like you have no energy, bloated and miserable.
So what would be the most important thing to take away? PREPARATION!! This is SO crucial to staying on track with healthy, clean eating ESPECIALLY during the holidays. The problem is that we are also busier during the holidays.
Try to have an allotted day for meal prep. If you are too busy (I mean, who isn't?) then just try and prep at least one or two things for the week. You can alway fit in 30 minutes a week, right? Trust me, it will be worth it.
My meal prep each week typically consists of:
- grilled chicken
- a ton of roasted vegetables (toss them in salads, along side of chicken or fish, add them to quinoa
- homemade snacks like energy bars no bake nut butter bites or trail mix
- make ahead breakfast ideas like crustless quiche or overnight oats
- cook a bunch of quinoa in vegetable or chicken broth (to add flavor) and store it in the refrigerator
- and lastly I like to keep some type of sweet treat for when a craving hits, like no bake pecan bark, chocolate avocado pudding or matcha coconut ice cream
So now let's talk about my top ten tips to avoid weight gain during the holidays:
- If you have a holiday party at night, plan to eat a healthy well-balanced breakfast and lunch that day. Maybe some oatmeal with apples and cinnamon for breakfast and a big salad with lots of veggies and lean protein (fish, chicken or turkey) for lunch.
- Never go to the party or celebration hungry. Eat a small protein packed snack before you leave for the party- Maybe Greek yogurt with sliced almonds and fresh berries. This is filled with protein that will prevent you from going there hungry (that's when you overeat).
- Plan what you would like to "splurge" on. If you want a piece of apple pie, have a small piece AND ENJOY IT. Before that fill up on fresh fruit and vegetables and maybe some lean meats.
- Make sure you get your zzzzzzzzzzz's. I know, you are up late wrapping presents and you wake up early to hit the malls. Make sleep a priority and try to maintain the same sleep schedule. You tend to overeat and pick when you are tired. (I am getting flashbacks of having a newborn and eating lasagna at 8:00 a.m.)
- If you like a cocktail (or two) ENJOY it! Make sure you have a glass of water after every cocktail. This will keep you hydrated and avoid any dreaded hangover. Remember, it's not necessarily the calories in the cocktail you should worry about, it's that your inhibitions go down and you all of a sudden start to shove random foods in your mouth (not that I would have any experience with that).
- Bring your own healthy foods to a party. This way your guaranteed to have at least one guiltless dish.
- Try a little bit of everything. If there are five different treats you would love to eat, have a tiny bite of each. This way you won't feel deprived. PORTION CONTROL!
- If you overindulged last night, get right back on track the next morning. Get rid of that "It's the holidays" mentality of eating everything in sight. Enjoy a protein rich breakfast, like a Crustless Veggie Quiche to keep you full and banish those cravings. Also, I you overindulged on a Friday, don't just write off the whole weekend.
- HYDRATE. And hydrate a lot. If you are enjoying more foods than usual, chances are you are eating out of boredom. Water really does help keep you full. And you just might be retaining some "holiday" water. Drink even more water to help flush it out.
- EXERCISE! I know, I know, we all have lists of things to do and presents to buy. If you can't fit in that morning run or hour long bar method class, find different ways of getting active. Squeeze in a 30 minute walk with a friend that will keep you accountable. Dance to Christmas music. Drop and give me twenty push-ups. You get the idea. Just move your body. It's that simple.
If you are going to bake, plan on baking some healthier treats too. I have tons of cookies, desserts, and no bake desserts to get you started. But keep in mind that just because something has less sugar or even sugar free, it doesn't mean that it's calorie free. So watch your portions.
Whenever I go somewhere I always bring something that I will eat, not necessarily what everyone else will eat (tip #6). I typically bring an appetizer and a side dish so that I am guaranteed to eat at least two healthy options. Most of the time people want a healthier choice and mine is usually the first to go!
Enjoy the holidays with friends and family. And if your pants feel a little tighter by New Year's Day, I can help with that too 😉
Please share your tips for staying healthy and on track during the holidays! I am always looking for new ideas!