The holiday season is famous for sweet treats and festive gatherings. Unfortunately, it's easy to let the celebration lead to overeating and other not-so-healthy choices. These tips can help you maintain a healthier relationship with food during the holiday season — and in the months beyond.
When we let our blood sugar drop, we tend to experience powerful cravings that can temp us to eat unhealthy foods. By eating several small, nutritious snacks and meals every few hours, you can stabilize your blood sugar and put yourself in a position to make healthier choices when you're confronted with processed, sugary holiday treats. Whether you prefer mixed greens, low-sugar yogurt, or a handful of nuts, small snacks can help you feel less hungry while providing all the energy you need to keep up with seasonal activities and holiday responsibilities.
It's perfectly ok to indulge in the occasional sweet treat during the holiday season as long as you know when to quit. Unfortunately, it can be hard to stop eating once you start. Help reduce your cravings by filling your plate with healthy, high-fiber vegetables and lean proteins before dessert. Because these foods take longer to digest, they will make you feel more full and can help keep you from overindulging on desserts. They also provide a consistent stream of energy, so you can avoid the inevitable crashes that come with eating sugary treats on an empty stomach.
It can take time for our brains to realize that our stomachs are full. By the time we get this signal, we are often already to the point of feeling much too full and uncomfortable. You can help prevent this by eating more slowly. Take a mindful approach to eating by relishing the flavor and texture of each bite. You should also avoid watching television or thumbing through your smartphone since this can lead to mindless overeating.
Most alcoholic beverages are packed with calories, sugar, and carbohydrates. Since drinking lowers inhibitions, we’re also much more likely to consume unhealthy foods after we've had a few holiday drinks. Be mindful of your alcohol consumption and drink a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages. Instead of drinking plain wine, consider sipping a wine spritzer (wine and club soda mix). You should also eat a filling meal before consuming any alcoholic drinks.
Did you know that dehydration can actually spark poor eating habits? When you feel a powerful craving for unhealthy holiday foods, stop and drink a full glass of water. Then, wait several minutes to see if your cravings subside. Quite often, you’ll find that your cravings will either disappear or become much more manageable.
With so many obligations and activities, the holidays can seriously disrupt our routines. It's important to stick to important routines that relate to your health and mental well-being. Make sure to exercise regularly and prioritize sleep. Keep in mind that it may be hard to re-establish healthy habits once the holiday season has ended if you break with routine.