Every year people fret about the holidays and what they should eat to maintain their weight or simply avoid overindulging. All fair concerns and I am happy to provide some perspective and tips! Depending upon your culture and what holidays you celebrate we are really only looking at 5-6 days total in a year.
I wish people would focus more on what they are eating, how active they are, and prioritizing sleep on the other 360 days of the year.
So, the perspective 6 days of sweets or eating outside of your “healthy routine” out of 365 days is truly only 0.016% which is not significant.
An all-foods fit dietitian…honestly, I say this often..”We need to get back to the basics and control our controllables!”Do yourself a favor and avoid the fad diets and shame game. Below I provide simple tips for both young athletes and adults to follow this holiday season.
- For mindful eating and gentle nutrition tips check out Coach Sydney’s blog here.
- Tips for staying on track this holiday season click here.
- Should you overindulge check out my damage control blog.
6 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips for Adults and Athletes!
1.Eat breakfast or a small amount of protein like string cheese or a hard-boiled egg beforehand. Do not go into meals and gatherings on an empty tummy. You will end up overeating and feel guilt and shame. Also, if you have an evening gathering…Do not starve yourself all day. Restricting leads to overeating.
2. Think you drink! Avoid drinking sugary beverages that contain a lot of calories but not a lot of quality nutrition. Should you choose to indulge in a sugary drink make sure you stick to one serving and hydrate with plenty of water! If of age limit alcohol intake which can also contain a lot of calories and lead to overeating later on.
3. Set your fork down in between bites and talk to those around you. By slowing down your eating you will help your stomach and brain communicate fullness. You should be able to walk away from the table at 75-80% fullness. The food is not going anywhere. You can always eat more food but once you eat it you cannot un-eat it. So be mindful when you eat! Focus on the conversation and less on the food. (you will enjoy your conversations with others more this way). Holidays are about being grateful for the community and conversing with loved ones. Make them your focus and you’ll have greater satisfaction with your holiday experience!
4.Use a smaller plate and add colorful fruits and veggies. You should not look down and only see brown (gravy, turkey, and bread). Your body will appreciate the added fiber and antioxidants around the holidays when people often get sick, and rundown, and being around a variety of people can tax the immune system. The added boost of berries could be a great way to stay healthy!
5. Choose one dessert, not a plateful! If you feel worried about making a healthy choice prepare something you know supports your goals. Another dish to pass is never a bad thing! You are likely not the only one who wants to make healthier choices and feel good!
Want some recipes? Try our Greek yogurt bark bars, pumpkin trail mix, egg bake, or the NWW protein PB energy bites, protein puppy chow, or, tasty black bean quinoa bowl!
- You can always munch on fruits & veggies if you’re a snacker and feel the urge. If you feel there won’t be a veggie tray take initiative and bring one. You can also add some hummus and jerky sticks for protein! Protein will help keep you full to avoid snacking and stabilize blood sugar when paired with carbohydrates or desserts!
6. Stay active! Take a walk, bike ride go for a hike, grab the basketball, football, or soccer ball, or plan an activity everyone enjoys. The movement will help with digestion and reduce the risk of feeling lethargic which often leads to guilt and shame.
The holidays do not need to be stressful. Have a plan, pack some protein bars or snacks for travel and stick to one plate! Blessings to you in good health, wellness, and faith,
-Coch Wendi A. Irlbeck, MS, RDN, LD, CISSN