5 Healthy Holiday Habits

5 Healthy Holiday Habits

I don’t know about you, but I love a good holiday party. Mouth watering appetizers like hot, bubbly, cheesy, spinach and artichokes, on crusty bread; endless baskets of corn chips, salsa and guacamole, a great charcuterie platter…YUM! And with a good glass of wine, even better. Yes, I am a foodie!  This may surprise some of you who know me and believe that because I practice Functional Medicine and coach weight loss, I must be a member of the Food Police. 

You may imagine that I eat salads and grass fed protein followed with green smoothies all day. Or maybe I’m a vegan. Or that never would a French fry or a molecule of gluten pass my lips. Those stories are just not true.

However, this time of year can be a lot more challenging. Many Americans believe they have a license to eat everything in the name of the “Holiday Season” which seems to start in October!?  What to do…?

Family Focus

First, why are you going to the party? To be with friends and family! Focus on the people instead of the food.  Stay away from the food tables. You do not owe anyone an explanation regarding your food choices, ever!  If someone asks, just tell them quietly that sometimes that particular food gives you digestive issues – most people will not want to engage in further conversation, if you know what I mean – wink-wink.

I Feel Like Crap

Next, think through the outcome of less healthy choices versus healthy choices.  The bloating, headache, hang over, my clothes don’t fit, remorseful feeling of eating crap versus feeling good, improved self esteem by keeping promises to yourself, and rocking your favorite holiday outfit.

My Top 5 Healthy Holiday Habits

  1. Eat normally throughout the day. Skipping meals causes increases in cortisol, the stress hormone which contributes to belly fat and breaks down muscle tissue, and will cause you to overeat later in the day. No real calorie savings.
  2. Look for the vegetables first, even with ranch dressing or dip, veggies have less calories than chips and artichoke dip. Next, find some protein, a couple cubes of cheese, ham, or salami will go a long way to keeping you away from the fried wontons. Maybe you can offer to bring the veggies and dip.
  3. Watch portion sizes by using a small plate.  If you decide to indulge, have a small portion and save tons of calories.  A small piece of pie, a small serving of potatoes, you won’t feel deprived.  And you won’t overdo it either.
  4. Alcohol – Choose beer or wine – both are around 100 calories on average. Mixed drinks and alcoholic punches can pack over 500 calories per serving!
  5. Have snacks with you. Pre-cut vegetables eaten with single-sized hummus or apples and peanut butter are a quick snacks that are portable.  Always have a snack-sized bag of nuts in the car – hello Trader Joe’s! This and a bottle of water will hold you over versus stopping for fast food.

So, NO! I am not the food police! Yes, I have to make the same choices you have to make when I go to a party.  I have to tel you, it does become second nature over time. I would love to hear from you, add your favorite tips below!