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Tis the season where sweets and treats are everywhere! We are tempted at the office, at home, at friends, at the bank and just about everywhere we go. From now until the New Year, treats are everywhere! This can make it harder to stick to our exercise regimen and nutritional program. The trick is to be prepared and have a plan! Family gatherings and holiday travel can make it difficult to stay on track, but it IS possible! The key is proper choices, portion control and jumping right back on your program the following day. Just like we prepare our weeks in advance, mapping out a game plan, we have to do the same for the holidays.
If you follow these helpful tips and reminders you are surely going to be able to enjoy your holiday and stay on track with your health and fitness goals!
1. Make exercising a priority. Thanksgiving morning , get up and get out! Not only will this jump-start your metabolism but you’ll feel better about having a bite or two of your favorite holiday foods. No matter what type of exercise you do, just do something. Even if you aren’t able to do your normal routine (your gym may be closed) at least get 20 minutes of cardio in by jogging around your neighborhood.
2. Don’t bank your calories for your big Thanksgiving dinner. So many people try to not eat or eat less, in order to save their calories for later but this is NOT a smart idea. You want to keep your metabolism moving so start with your breakfast and eat every 2-3 hours thereafter. In order to be able to burn off that Thanksgiving food, you need your metabolism to be revved up, right? On the other hand, if you wait to eat until Thanksgiving, you will be absolutely starving and end up eating much more than if you were to have been eating on your regular schedule!
3. Take it all in with your eyes first. Look closely at what’s being offered — then pick out a couple of your favorite high-calorie options and have a small serving of each. Fill up on veggies and sample all the other yummy options.
4. Watch those drinks! Many holiday drinks have TONS of calories. Go for the clears (i.e. vodka) with a no calorie mixers (i.e soda water) or a glass of wine but stay away from creamy and sugary cocktails!
5. Drink Plenty of Water! Often you think you are hungry when really you are just dehydrated! Not to mention all the extra sodium that may be in the holiday food. Be sure to drink tons of water!
6. Cut down on sugars – Have a bite or two of dessert, just don’t overdo it. If you do, don’t feel guilty! As long as you only have a small piece, you are going to be fine! If you fill up on your roughage and lean proteins at dinner, I am sure you wont be wanting to kill an entire pumpkin pie. But, at the same time, if it is mama’s special pie go for a bite or two. My thought is, if it was bought as Safeway, I would pass but if it was mama that slaved away baking all day, come on, give it a taste or two!!
7. This is one day I would not recommend you BYOP, (bring your own protein) – You know how we do that protein in a purse thing… Keep your protein at home today. Thanksgiving has plenty of healthy options with tons of turkey and vegetables so fill up on the good stuff!
8. It is easier to control a meal if you are the one hosting, making it easy for you to use healthier alternatives in your cooking. This isn’t always the case but if you are hosting the holidays, this is a great way to show people how delicious healthy cooking can be. I bet your guests will be asking you for recipes and wonder how you made something so healthy taste so delicious! If you are cooking, be sure to make choices that can easily substitute for the “real deal”. Using non-fat plain or Greek yogurt in place of sour cream and mayonnaise can lower the fat of items such as mashed potatoes, coleslaw, egg salad, tuna salads and other cold salads. Remember our cauliflower mashed potatoes, oh yes, those are a great substitute for potatoes. Maybe you can’t get away with serving these to everyone but a few options are to dilute the potatoes with the cauliflower or make a side of the cauliflower mashed for you. Salad dressings can also benefit from the use of Greek yogurt. I like to use lemons, grainy mustard and yogurt for a simple yet tasty, creamy salad dressing.
9. Stay away from creamy casserole dishes! Thanksgiving tends to offer us the wholesome foods that are on our lifestyle program. Turkey, yams, sweet potatoes, green beans, pumpkin, beets, all staples in our diets, so today can be much easier than other holidays! Remember that it’s what you do to these healthy base foods that can get you in trouble! Simply set aside your platter before dousing it in butter or creams, if you must use those items to please your guests…
10. As for appetizers or hors d’oeuvres, vegetable plates, roasted veggies, smoked salmon, deviled eggs, bowl of nuts, olive platters or fruit plates make for fast and easy healthy finger foods. An alternative to crackers is celery, flax chips, or other whole grain crackers. You can always use Greek Yogurt, hummus or salsa as your veggie or cracker dip.
There are tons of ways to enjoy your holiday while staying on track with your fitness goals. Remember to allow yourself a little bit of flexibility and enjoy this special time with loved ones. Be sure to stay active, make smart nutritional decisions, and get right back on track the next day. With a little bit of preparation and planning, you will cruise through the holiday’s just fine!
Happy Thanksgiving To All!