How To Have A Healthier
The holiday season is a time to celebrate but it’s also a time of overeating, weight gain, and falling off the wagon! I’m here to tell you it’s still possible to enjoy yourself without feeling like your ruining all the hard work. I’ve devised a list of do’s and don’ts to help you have a healthier season of cheer without depriving every one of their favorite holiday foods!
Cold Pasta Salad
Macaroni & Cheese
Stick to a pasta salad filled with protein, mixed raw vegetables, and olive oil over the pounds of cheese and milk associated with macaroni and cheese. You can even use a whole wheat pasta without jeopardizing the taste.
Brushetta or Salsa
Creamy or Cheese Dips
We all pick on appetizers before the main course, but why not save the calories for the main meal. Opt for the lighter appetizers that way you leave room for dinner.
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Candied yams are soaked in honey and syrup, where roasted sweet potatoes already have a natural sweetness. If you must add marshmallow and nuts, then at least add them to the healthier and more natural starch.
. A 4-oz. slice of bone-in rump ham has 148 calories with 4 grams of fat while a 4-oz. slice of prime rib can have almost 400 calories with 23 grams of fat! Ham happens to be one of the saltiest cuts of meat, so make sure you are drinking water, especially the next day.
A whiskey sour has simple sugar which can give you a drink with over 20 grams of sugar!
Seltzer and tonic are not created equal. One can of tonic water contains over 30 grams of sugar while seltzer has none.
Paloma’s are made with fresh grapefruit and lime juice where margaritas are loaded with sodium and sugar.
Are you a beer drinker? Try these:
- Guinness – yes, it is a heavier beer, but it's calorie and carb count are on the lower side, while its fiber count is higher than most lighter beers.
- Yuengling - A bottle of Yuengling is only 99 calories and though it’s alcohol content is lower than most beers, you’re better off drinking more of a lower calorie option then drinking more of a 200+ calorie beer.
- Modelo Especial – It may not be lower calorie beer, but Modelo has much less carbs then most other beer but still with an average alcohol content of 4.4%.
Want to try a SNAP approved holiday drink? Here are two:
- Poinsettias - 4 oz. brut champagne with 1 1/2 tbsp. cranberry juice
- Peppermint-ini - 1 oz. vanilla vodka, 3 oz. unsweetened vanilla almond milk, 1/8 tsp. peppermint extract, 1.25 oz. creme de cacao [clear] - combine in a shaker with ice and strain in a chilled glass
While enjoying the better food and drink choices, also keep these helpful tips in mind over the holiday season. Don’t deprive yourself, but be conscious of what you are doing. You don’t want to start the new year off stressfully trying to start all over again.
- Weigh Yourself. Contrary to what I usually would say, during the holiday season you should weigh yourself regularly. By being aware of when we start to gain some weight, we can make minor adjustments to our diet and exercise regimen to get us back on track. If we wait until after the holidays to face the scale, we may have to make much larger, harder adjustments to get back on track.
- Practice portion control without having to completely deprive yourself of some of your favorite holiday meals. Instead of indulging, practice eating only 1/4 or 1/2 servings of these meals and load up the rest of your dish with healthier choices. These healthier choices should be high fiber vegetables and leaner cuts of meat to help keep you full longer.
- Make time for exercise on a regular basis. This will help maintain your weight and could be a great stress relief since the holiday season also comes with a lot of chaos. Try to keep your regular training regimen but if you can't, realistically find 3-4 days during the week to break a sweat for 30 minutes. Are you traveling and might not have a gym to go to? There are tons of routines you can do in your hotel room. [View Vacation Program HERE]
- Drink a cup of tea before bed. Poor food choices can cause poor sleep patterns. Having a cup of chamomile tea 30 minutes before bed can help to sooth and relax the body. It can also help fight off the bloating caused by some of those not so healthy foods you chose at the holiday party.
- Plan ahead so you know what you’re doing, where you’re going, and what will be there. Never go to a holiday dinner on an empty stomach, that is a disaster waiting to happen. Doing so will result in overeating and making poor food choices. Have a snack, or even a small meal, before going to a holiday event and don't go straight to the food when walking in. Also, avoid socializing by the food table. You subconsciously will start picking and the next thing you know the bowl of chips are gone and you’re onto the next platter.
Don’t be so hard on yourself this holiday season, but also don’t let yourself totally fall off track. Continue your routines leading up to the holidays, focus on clean whole foods, and plan your holiday schedules. Remembering these strategies and swaps will allow you to still enjoy your celebrations, but also be more mindful of what your putting into your body. Healthy eating is a lifestyle, it’s not a temporary diet. Don’t allow the holidays to ruin all your hard work. Make better choices, eating healthier, and get some workouts in here and there. Trust me, your body will thank you later.
Varsity House Nutritionist
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Another way to plan ahead: clean up your diet before the holiday season and detox your body after the holiday season. What we eat greatly affects how our bodies work. In general, the average diet is not so great, but when holidays come around it becomes even worse. We overeat, we overdrink, we binge on holiday cookies, and we make excuses saying we will start fresh in the new year. All these factors can slow down our metabolism, poorly effect our hormones, cause weight gain, and put our bodies into an acidic state. When our bodies are acidic it makes it very difficult to lose weight even if we do start calorie specific diets or increase our training.
So how do we get rid of the acidity??
We follow the new “SNAP 18-Day Flush.” In just 18 days, broken into 5 phases, you can reduce acidity, increase your energy, reduce inflammation, and get your body feeling it’s absolute best again. Balancing out your bodies pH levels will allow you to lose weight and feel healthy again.