Thanksgiving is nearly upon us, and thoughts of all things “holiday” have begun to flood our minds: the excitement of seeing family and friends, re-living our favorite traditions, and the ever-important holiday practice – eating! The easiest decision in the face of this seemingly endless buffet is to go on a 2-month hiatus from every trace of health-conscious habitude you had prior. This is ultimately a personal choice; however, I propose you consider the road less traveled.
Why not make this year a healthier holiday? I have provided several ideas below for making healthier choices this season, applicable to both the office and the home.
1. MAKEOVER YOUR RECIPES
When preparing a dish for a work party or family gathering, consider researching a “lighter” version of the recipe to make ingredient substitutions that improve nutritional value. Many traditional full-fat, high-calorie dishes are easily made over without sacrificing flavor. For example, one Green Bean Casserole recipe from EatingWell.com skips the canned soup and all of the fat and sodium that comes with it by substituting a lighter, homemade white sauce. See the full recipe here.
Other helpful websites:
The Chocolate Covered Katie blog will help you find the perfect healthy dessert recipes to add to your holiday meals.
2. MAKE TIME FOR EXERCISE
Free time is limited during the holidays, which makes us more apt to put fitness on the back burner. Exercise is important in easing stress and preventing weight gain, and can foster the motivation needed to consistently make healthy choices. Consider the following ideas for fitting exercise into your routine.
- Start your day with exercise. This will free up your evenings for other holiday-related tasks.
- If you’re not a morning person, try walking or running outside, or visiting a local gym over your lunch hour.
- Walk or run a local race with your family, friends, and/or coworkers. Many communities have an annual “Turkey Trot” on Thanksgiving and a holiday-themed race in December.
- Training in preparation for the event can be instrumental in boosting motivation.
- Click here for upcoming races in the Muscatine, Iowa area, courtesy of the Cornbelt Running Club.
3. EAT SMARTER
The holidays are a notoriously celebratory, emotional, and sometimes stressful time, and with food thrown into the mix it can be more difficult than ever to maintain self-control. Try these simple methods for eating smarter this year:
- It may seem logical to skip breakfast and lunch to save calories for eating whatever looks tasty at the afternoon office party. Unfortunately, this is not the case.
- When meals are skipped, the likelihood of overeating increases as your appetite is stronger than usual once you allow yourself to eat.
- Instead, try to eat portion-controlled meals at mealtime, and allow yourself to have a special treat at the party.
- Another effective method to battle the urge to overeat is to track your intake throughout the day.
- There are numerous free apps that allow you to input what you’ve eaten and provide an outline of your daily progress. This creates accountability in providing a visual summary of your choices.
Relax. Allowing yourself a second (or third) piece of pie doesn’t mean you’ve thrown all self control out the window. Forgive yourself and move forward, always keeping your end goal in mind.
What are some other healthy tips you would add to our list?