You may or may not have noticed that holiday season has arrived. Not too long from now, the never ending parties with never ending treats will come as well. For some, this may mean the start of a vicious cycle. You may know to which one I refer. The “I’m enjoying the holidays, so I’ll have eight Christmas cookies! but then I’ll drink hot tea and eat a carrot stick for dinner to balance it out!” cycle. Okay. Maybe not that drastic. Nonetheless, I have witnessed (and, in previous years, participated myself) in this general type of thinking.
How to stop it? I believe we approach this type of behavior as a habit. It won’t take reading a quick blog post and a slap of the ole will power to suddenly free ourselves. However, with careful planning we can aim to make more balanced decisions in our every day meals. Quite frankly, we should try NOT to overthink things and aim to live with balance. Make smart decisions with our everyday meals, so the tendency to EAT ALL THE HOLIDAY COOKIES doesn’t overtake our senses.
With that in mind, I suggest aiming for the following 5 daily goals in our meals. By simply doing these things, and not overthinking the rest, I believe we can come out with more balanced decisions and a healthier overall diet during this holiday season.
Eat fiber! Bulk up on this good stuff that will help keep your blood sugars stable and your stomach feeling full to ward off the cravings to raid the holiday office sweets mid afternoon. Aim for 25 grams per day.
Eat protein! Fat and sugars abound in holiday baking. Balance out the rest of your intake by choosing protein rich foods. Just like the fiber, protein will help you feel full longer. Be sure to choose lean options with little fat – things like beans/legumes, lean cuts of meat, low fat and low sugar yogurts, protein powder supplements, etc.
Produce with every main meal. Don’t worry about counting servings – just have some produce (fruit or vegetable) with every meal. I personally aim for this and it helps keep me on track whether the holidays or not. I will have some fruit with breakfast, then vegetables with lunch and dinner. Add some fruit to oatmeal. Make a large salad for lunch. Roast some vegetables for dinner. You can almost always find raw crudité veggies at a party to keep that goal on track.
Keep coffee and tea clean. Hot coffee and tea hold great appeal during the chilly months. They also hold great appeal to coffee shops alluring holiday shoppers in with their peppermint mochas and gingerbread lattes and other such sugary concoctions. Drink up the coffee and tea (along with 64 ounces of plain water), just aim to keep the sugar, milks, creamers, and other add-ins out. Or at least minimize as much as possible.
Think it out ahead of time. This is probably the biggest suggestion I have. In the morning, think ahead to your day. I don’t think you have to food journal every last bite or plan out your meals day to day in a fancy spreadsheet. Just aim to be aware DAILY. Take things day by day and have the goal to make the best decisions possible for that day – choosing to enjoy things you LOVE (not just like a little, but hey it’s there) and filling in the gaps with the previous 4 tips. Be proactive!
Your Turn: Do you ever set mini-goals? What’s one you can have to stay accountable?