5 Tips for Navigating Holiday Eating

by Aimee Wojtowecz

We’re coming into the last two months of the year and you know what that means… Happy Holidays!

Does the Holiday Season typically mean abandoning your health and fitness goals until January 1st? What if we told you that it’s possible to enjoy your holiday celebrations while staying in-line with your health and fitness goals and NOT FEELING DEPRIVED?!! It’s true! 

The holidays can be a time of excess: excess food, excess drinks, excess socializing. (Go big or go home right?) How could it be possible to still enjoy the foods and drinks you want and not feel guilty about your choices, or feel like you’re always saying no and testing out just how long that willpower is going to last? The answer is simple: healthy habits that you’ve worked all year round to develop. 

When we talk about food and nutrition here at the gym, we’re never discussing a way that you have to eat all the time if you want to get results. We’re not saying “You can never have sugar or dessert again if you want progress!” Or “Have you tried __<insert current fad diet here>___ yet?” What we do talk about is eating for real life, eating in a way that is sustainable and will still aid you in reaching your goals, eating in a way that you actually ENJOY. We do all of this by focusing on your lifestyle and building healthy habits.  So let’s take a look at the top 5 healthy habits to help you move toward your goals this holiday season. 

1. Eat your vegetables

Try something as simple as adding one additional serving of vegetables a day. This is going to increase your fiber intake which helps you to stay fuller for longer. It’s also going to increase your nutrient intake (yay for vitamins, minerals and antioxidants!). 

2. Drink your water

Indulgent drinks are at their peak during the holidays. Drinking water serves multiple purposes. First, alcohol is dehydrating, and being dehydrated can lead to fatigue, decreased performance during exercise, and headaches, and is often mistaken for hunger. Drinking water also helps to slow down our drink consumption and therefore slow our intake of empty, although fun, calories. 

3. Portion control

We’re not saying you need to travel to every party with your food scale, but portions are still important; it’s how we balance the foods we need with the foods we want. Two super simple ways to keep portions in check are with the plate method and the hand portion method. The plate method means filling up half your plate with vegetables, ¼ with protein, the other ¼ with carbohydrates, and a little fat on the side. Incredibly simple and works with any size plate. 

The second method, using hand portions, is also simple and portable. Aim for a palm sized portion of protein, a cupped palm of carbohydrates, 1-2 fist sized servings of vegetables, and a thumb sized serving of fat. 

4.Stick with that exercise routine

“Abs are made in the kitchen” While I hate that saying (you already have abs, you were born with them, you can’t possibly make them in a kitchen unless your name is Dr. Frankenstein), I do understand the sentiment behind it. Nutrition is incredibly important for reaching your health and fitness goals and a large part of what is going to get you there. But that doesn’t mean that fitness can be neglected either. Building muscle helps to increase our basal metabolic rate which means our body burns more calories even when we’re watching Hallmark movies on the couch. Exercising is also a great stress reliever, something we all have an abundance of this time of year, as well as a support system for those of us who might struggle a little or a lot through the holidays. 

5. Don’t forget to have fun

The holiday season is meant to be a time of reflection, celebration with friends and family, gratitude, giving and sharing, love and hope. If you want to indulge in that cheesecake or pie, by all means do so and enjoy every single bite, revel in it and move on! Food can be a way to enhance all of these experiences even if it is not the reason for all of these experiences. Memories and time are the reason. If the holiday season is tough for you, we hope that you have the love and support you need during this challenging time and can still find ways to have fun and joy in this season. 

If navigating this time of year has always been a struggle for you, let’s make this year different! Try a few of our tips and have a Happy and Healthy Holiday Season!

If you need support, accountability or guidance this holiday season reach out, we’re here to help!