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10 Healthy Holiday Eating Habits

To Keep Your #FITLIFE Stress Free This Season

With the crisp fall, air comes the smells of baking apple pies, pumpkin spice...everything, sweet potato casserole, ham, turkey, stuffing, and all the goodness that the holiday season brings.  It is the season when anyone and everyone breaks out the really good “once a year” recipes and usually we want to “just taste” everything in sight.   Co-workers bring junk to work, your family makes extra goodies at home, and your mind is literally bombarded with food ads all over the media.  

How can you possibly resist and keep the fitness spirit alive!?    

But you’re a gym junkie and you’ve worked your butt off all year (literally) and you don’t want to lose the progress you’ve made.  You’re pushing forward with your weight goals and muscle gains and are determined not to see your hard work go to waste over a few dinner parties these next few months.  

We are here to help.  We’ve gathered 10 tips to stay in control this Thanksgiving and Holiday season and are bringing them to you early so you can have a plan for when you need to go into battle against the “food coma” mentality.  

1 - STICK TO THE 90/10 RULE

What is the 90/10 rule?  This is a general nutrition rule that calls for 6 days of healthy eating and fitness and 1 day of soul-soothing foods, also known as a ‘cheat day.’  

With parties and social events going on all through the month, we can forget the guidelines we’ve set for ourselves all year and overeat and then feel guilty for our actions.  It’s like that 90/10 rule becomes more like 50-60% of the time.  Give yourself the benefit of the doubt and let yourself have that “off” day.  Because if you don’t, you’ll be kidding yourself and you’ll find some way to steal it anyway.

2 - SCHEDULE YOUR CHEAT DAY

Review your calendar for the next few months.  Plan out where your most exciting parties and get together's are and adjust your cheat day to fall on those days.  

This way, when you attend an event, you don’t have to be the one standing in the corner morning over the bread, and desserts.  You can allow yourself to enjoy it, modestly and not drool over yourself.  Don’t be standing in the corner who sticks out like a sore thumb just because there are cookies and pies all around.  It’s ok to partake as long as it’s in moderation.

3 - PREPARE FOR TEMPTATION

If you do go to an event and you want to stick to your ‘eating-clean’ guns, then prepare yourself ahead of time.  Don’t go to a party super hungry or tired.  Usually, we tend to eat more if we are suddenly around unhealthy foods on an empty stomach, even if you’ve eaten healthy all week!  

Just before you go, eat some healthy snacks, like nuts, apples, bananas or a protein bar to help you curb the desire for carbs.

Also, you can help curb that fix by drinking lots and lots of water throughout the day.  And by lots, we mean a whole gallon!  Staying hydrated will help you to not feel so empty during the day if you are eating clean and the temptation when you are around the holiday food won’t be as strong.

4 - LIMIT THE SUGAR AND PORTIONS

This can seriously affect your waistline, energy, and mood!  Let’s keep the Holiday cheer going, shall we?

As much as you -do- deserve a treat now and then, remember not to go overboard with the sweets.  Processed sugar is one of the worst things you can put in your body besides illegal drugs.  Don’t do it.  

The American Heart Association recommends we consume less than 10 TEASPOONS (that’s tiny) of sugar a day.  The average adult American misses that mark by a lot.  Try 22 teaspoons.  

So let yourself sample a dessert, but keep it to just one.  You don’t have to try them all!  

And about that Thanksgiving day plate.

It does not have to be 6 inches high and 12 inches in diameter!  Keep the portions small, even on your cheat day, so you can recover from those heavy meals faster.  Calories in vs. calories out is the most important thing to remember.

What you put in with the fork, you need to put out at the gym!

5 - NEVER SKIP YOUR WORKOUT

One of the best things about this time of year is getting to take time off.  Being with family, hanging out with friends, and traveling will really help you relax and unwind.

But don’t take a break from your workout routine!

Remember, you are committed to the gym, the WOD, or your box, even though the Holidays.  It’s okay to still have rest days, but don’t let things like being out of town keep you from your regular workout routine.

It will be that much harder to start again.

By getting up and putting in 10 minute HIIT intervals you will keep that fit bug alive and well.  There is also easy travel gear that you can take with you on the road to keep your routine alive.  Check out one of our blogs “5 Travel Tricks and Tooks to Keep Your Workouts Alive This Holiday Season”

6 - MAKE IT A FAMILY ORDEAL

There is power in numbers.  Try a new tradition this year; instead of playing video games or sitting around after a big Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, gather your family together and go for a walk.  It’s not every day you see families just go out for a stroll together but in fact, it’s what they used to do all the time!

Consider walking around the neighborhood or even going for a short hike if a trail is available.  This can spark conversation and add joy in just being together.  Also, there’s the added benefit of helping burn calories and digest food faster.  

7 - TAKE THE FOCUS OFF FOOD

It’s not always about the meals guys (even though it might seem like it!)  Not everything is about making Christmas cookies or baking the latest and greatest complicated pie recipes.  

Take the focus off of food and instead try making craft projects instead like wreaths or holiday canvas paintings.  Making new traditions is important so you don’t feel like you are missing out on the holiday spirit.  Try putting spiced apple candles in the rooms in your house to relish in the fresh baking scents.  

8 - BRING YOUR OWN HEALTHY DISH

If you know you are going to a party where there is going to be an excess of all kinds of unhealthy foods, then bring your own.  It’s not uncommon for anyone to bring extra goodies to a party so bake something with a little healthy twist or even consider a simple veggie tray.  

Check out one of our blog posts featuring the “10 Best Paleo Christmas Cookie Recipes.”

There are so many healthy alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas meals.  Here are a few quick shortcuts you can take on some traditional holiday foods:

  • Gravy — Refrigerate the gravy to harden fat. Skim the fat off. This will save a whopping 56 gm of fat per cup.
  • Dressing — Use a little less bread and add more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables. Add fruits such as cranberries or apples. Moisten or flavor with low-fat low sodium chicken or vegetable broth and applesauce.
  • Turkey – Enjoy delicious, roasted turkey breast without the skin and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving.
  • Green Bean Casserole — Cook fresh green beans with chunks of potatoes instead of cream soup. Top with almonds instead of fried onion rings.
  • Mashed Potato — Use skim milk, chicken broth, garlic or garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese instead of whole milk and butter.
  • Quick Holiday Nog — Four bananas, 1-1/2 cups skim milk or soymilk, 1-1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon rum extract, and ground nutmeg. Blend all ingredients except nutmeg. Puree until smooth. Top with nutmeg.

9 - PLAN FOR COLDER WEATHER

We’ve worked so hard all summer, crafting our physic to reach out maximum physical potential...or at least we’re working towards it.  We have goals.  But now we have to cover up, bundle up, and shiver up because…

BABY, IT’S COLD OUTSIDE!

Splurge a little on warmer workout gear to keep you “warmed up” to the idea of working out.  Buy yourself fleece lined joggers or an extra large hoodie to throw on when running to your car after the gym.  

10 - RELAX AND ENJOY THE SEASON

The one doesn’t even seem like it should be a “tip” but we want to point out the fact that you shouldn’t get too worried about gaining or losing weight during the season.  It comes down to just trying to do your best to maintain your weight and continue the active lifestyle you’ve been working towards all year.  

Don’t sweat the small stuff!

You will have plenty of opportunities to make up for all the parties, treats, drinks and good times but the key is that you DO make up for it.  Don’t let your 1 day off turn into a week off.  This is where most holiday festivities will hurt you.  

Remember, stress causes overeating and weight gain too, so move through the Thanksgiving and Christmas season with a clear mind and realistic goals for yourself.

 

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