Whether it’s Christmas, a birthday, or a summer long weekend, holidays are a great time to unwind and bond with family and friends. Inevitably however, these times also include eating and drinking things we know are not conducive to keeping a trim waistline. On the other hand, social situations are an important part of life, and they should be enjoyed. So how do we let ourselves enjoy these situations without turning into a guilty food nazi? Hopefully these tips/ hacks will give you some tools to help you celebrate when the time calls for it without negating all the hard work you put into your fitness and health.
1- Eat Real foods as much as possible. Traditional holiday meals, such as turkey, ham, potatoes, vegetables are not responsible for holiday weight gain. Processed foods such as bread, sugar, rice, pastas and desserts are the main culprits, spiking insulin and fat storage.
2-Eat protein and healthy fats first. Start your day with protein and fat as it helps satiate you and stabilize blood sugar levels. It also helps reduce cravings for sugary foods.
3- Limit Alcohol. We all know this, and its easier said than done when in the moment of a good party. However drinking extra calories is a rapid and senseless way to add to the holiday bulge. Staying away from rich and sugary drinks such as Egg nog, or any drink with added pop or juice is crucial. Dry wines and spirits mixed with water are the best choice from a caloric standpoint.
4- Add Vinegar. balsamic or apple cider vinegar helps with pancreatic function to improve insulin sensitivity especially with higher carbohydrate meals. If you don’t want to add vinegar to your meal, mix 1 tablespoon to 8oz glass of water before eating. Cooking with spices cinnamon and turmeric also have a similar effect.
5- Do 60-90 seconds of exercise pre or post meal. This doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym, bodyweight exercises such as squats, lunges, or push ups will do. This triggers the muscles to absorb the food calories before they are stored as fat.
6- Drink Green Tea before a party – Green tea is high in antioxidants and helps minimize liver damage from alcohol intake. It can also take the edge off a hangover.
7-Don’t feel guilty and enjoy!- Remember the big picture, indulging 15-20 days throughout the year during various holidays shouldn’t matter if you are living healthy habits the remainder of the time. Enjoy the holiday season while its here and use it to fully rest and recover. You will have plenty of time to get back on track when you get back to normal routine.