Staying on Track Over the Holidays

By Kathleen Jones, MSACN, CNS
Nutritionist at The Vitamin Shoppe in Wyomissing

The most wonderful time of year can leave a lot of us feeling defeated, and not ready to take on the New Year. But it doesn’t have to be this way.  By following a few simple steps, you will be able to successfully emerge from the holidays without feeling like you have put yourself back.  Here are my top tips for staying on track over the holidays, and still being about to enjoy them with some indulgences.

  1. Start the day off right
    Even if you plan on “saving” your calories for later in the day, skipping breakfast is rarely the way to go.  This tends to leave you with low blood sugar that will have you reaching for something sweet, and feeling famished which can turn into over eating.  Instead of skipping this opportunity to nourish yourself, choose something light but full of phytonutrients.  Having a green smoothie made with some greens, fruit, avocado, and protein powder will prevent you from crashing and get in some much needed fruits and veggies.
  1. Stay hydrated
    Over the holidays people tend to drink beverages that are less than hydrating like caffeine and alcohol.  Keep hydrated by drinking half your body weight in ounces of water each day.  Get a head start by drinking a glass as soon as you wake up.  Warm water with lemon is a great way to start the day, and water reminder apps can keep you on track during the day.
  1. Make lunch count
    Use lunch as another opportunity to nourish yourself.  Make a salad with your favorite greens, nuts and seeds, veggies, fruit, protein, with an olive oil/balsamic dressing. This can still spare calories, but prevents a drop in blood sugar drop, all while packing in the phytonutrients.
  1. Keep healthy snacks on hand
    Keeping healthy snacks available can help to resist sweet treats when craving something to nibble on.  Chopped vegies with hummus, and fruit with nut butters are some great options. Making a baggie with some nuts and a piece of dark chocolate is something that is easily transportable and can stop a craving for something sweet and rich.
  1. Exercise
    Don’t let exercise fall by the wayside. Even if you have less time on your hands there are always ways to keep moving.  Park farther away, take the stairs, walk during your lunch break, spend 15 minutes before bed and each morning doing some yoga and stretching, or do squats while you watch a holiday move.  Be creative!
  1. Make your indulgences worthwhile
    Don’t indulge just for indulgence sake.  No need to sample every dessert and side dish. Pick which ones are your absolute favorite and thoroughly enjoy them.  If you love pumpkin pie, go for it! But no need to also have apple pie, a stale piece of gingerbread, and those oatmeal cookies you have never been too fond of.
  2. Be mindful
    Don’t completely disregard portion sizes and still be mindful of plate composition.  Try and fill half your plate with your favorite vegetable sides or apps, and leave a quarter for protein, and a quarter for starches. Check in with yourself to gage your hunger, fullness, and thirst levels.  And perhaps most importantly, take a moment to stop and feel grateful for all the good present in your life.

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