Holidays are filled with temptations such as sweet treats, heavy meals, and to be more sedentary. This makes it easy to put on extra weight over the holidays, and this weight is typically not lost throughout the year. So here are some tips for staying on track this holiday season.
Continue to be active
When spending time with your friends and family, the tendency is to sit, relax, and indulge. This sedentary lifestyle can be a contributing factor to weight gain. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health showed that increasing the amount of time watching TV had a strong association with weight gain and obesity. So why not instead plan some outdoor activities to help burn off that turkey dinner? The action can be anything from skating and tobogganing to merely going on a family walk. Whatever you choose, get your loved ones involved to keep the party going.
Focus on your favourites
There is an abundance of sweet treats to sample over the holiday season. It seems everywhere we look, there is a plate of desserts waiting for you to indulge. Rather than sampling one of everything, pick out your favourite treat and leave the rest behind. This allows you to indulge without eating an entire plate of dessert.
Another option for reducing your dessert intake is with portion control. Often treats are cut much larger than necessary. Don’t be afraid to cut a piece of pie or square in half to satisfy your sweet tooth but still maintain control over your calorie intake.
Try variations on your recipes
Our typical holiday recipes are filled with large amounts of butter, sugar, and cream, making them high in calories and low in nutrients. So why not try some variations on your classic recipes to allow yourself some treats with less guilt? When baking, you can replace butter with healthier options such as banana, pumpkin puree, or applesauce. This reduces the amount of fat in your treats while also adding in healthy vitamins and minerals. You can also use natural sweeteners such as monk fruit, stevia, or erythritol in your desserts rather than sugar. Just be sure to check the conversion as not all sweeteners measure 1:1 with a cup of sugar.
For cooking, you can focus on baking or steaming food rather than frying it in butter. Another good way to reduce your butter consumption is to use spices and citrus juices to flavour dishes such as vegetables. This will also help to reduce your sodium intake.
Finally, to add probiotics into your meals and reduce fat, items such as mayo, sour cream, and cream cheese can often be replaced with greek yogurt. This will keep your creamy texture while also promoting good gut health.
It is easy to go into the holidays with the mentality of “I’ll start watching what I eat tomorrow.” However, we all know that tomorrow will become the next day, and then the day after that. Commit to your health and keep active, don’t overindulge, and try healthy substitutions in your meals today. Once you make it through the holidays while sticking with your healthy lifestyle, you will thank yourself.