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Healthy Holiday Guide

Healthy Holiday Guide

The holidays can be a stressful time and staying healthy can be a challenge. Read my 3 part holiday guide for tips for healthy eating and on navigating holiday parties & social events. Also check out my Holiday Survival Strategy with High Protein. It’s a end of year high protein and cost effective diet. Are you up for the challenge?


Holiday Healthy Eating & Lifestyle Tips

The smell of sweet holiday aromas may begin to trigger temptation. Why is it that weight gain and stress seem to be unavoidable every holiday season? Whether you’re attending business gatherings, a holiday party with friends, or simply enjoying festive moments with family, eating large portions of delicious foods is often the way of celebration. This is an obvious problem for those who are concerned about their   health and weight status. Here are a few healthy tips to help tackle these holiday temptations and stressors. These tips will help you to manage eating so you won’t face the New Year with an extra 5-15 lbs.

1. Don’t skip meals! – Before leaving for a party, eat a small meal/snack prior to leaving. Going to a holiday party on an empty stomach may cause over eating and hinder your ability to make healthy choices. Don’t starve yourself all day saving the calories for 1 huge binge – this strategy works against your metabolic rate.

2. Beware of the beverages – Holidays are often filled with alcoholic and sugar loaded drinks. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your savory glass of yearly eggnog. After you have treated yourself to one half of a glass, move on to low calorie drinks such as coffee or unsweetened tea, or my favorite: a glass of sparkling mineral water with a shot of cranberry or pomegranate juice.

3. Skip chips and cut back on the dips! – When compared to common snacks such as cookies, chips/dip, and crackers/cheese, fruits & veggies provide more nutrients, contain fewer calories, and help fill up your stomach. Make veggies and fruits the focus of your holiday table setting by getting creative and making them into easy to grab skewers or cutting them into fun shapes. Select hummus, salsas, yogurt and guacamole over traditional dips.

4. Pay attention to portion sizes – Take a “taste “ size portion rather than a full portion, especially when there are many items to sample. Use a smaller plate. Eat slowly, and enjoy the conversation & company rather than focusing on the food. This allows your brain to signal you are full before you overeat.

5. Release the stress – Holiday season is often a stressful season. Be sure to remember to take time to yourself throughout the day to sit back and relax. Whether its enjoying your favorite holiday symphony while sipping your morning coffee, going for a walk, or simply taking a few moments to be in prayer, time taken to yourself will be beneficial for your health throughout the rest of the day.

6. Incorporate Exercise – Exercise not only aids in stress reduction but also helps maintain weight. Thirty (30) minutes of moderate aerobic activity DAILY, is recommended for adults, by health professionals. When you exercise, you’re not only benefiting your body physically, but also mentally. According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, exercising releases endorphins, which act to decrease tension, elevate mood, and improve self-esteem and sleep! Daily exercise can be achieved easily and includes activities as simple as dancing, playing ball in the backyard, taking a brisk walk, or even gardening! Any activity is better than none. STAY ACTIVE!

 


Navigating Holiday Parties & Social Events

Whether you have food sensitivities or are trying to watch calorie intake, this time of year can be quite difficult. If you are hosting a holiday party, you obviously have more control over the selection and you can alter the menu to work with your gluten, dairy or other food allergies and can alter recipes to be more calorie conscious

Here are a few fun menu ideas:

– Fresh fruit and veggie platters are always appreciated. Use a dairy free ranch or hummus

– If you can do seafood, fresh seafood and sushi is wonderful gluten free, dairy free option and many grocery stores have pre-made platters.

– Sweet potato bar – set out mashed sweet potatoes with an ice cream scoop and fun margarita or martini glasses for serving. Include a variety of toppings like green onion, chopped bacon, dairy free or light cheese, grilled vegetables and shredded coconut and pecans.

– Soup bar – Choose soups with a variety of colors as well as tastes and ingredients to please meat eaters, vegans, gluten free and dairy free all at once!

– Beverages are always a big part of holiday gatherings. Make sure you have gluten free beer, wine without sulfites as well as a variety of juices and sodas for those designated drivers.

If you are attending holiday parties and not hosting, here are a few ideas to help you stick to your diet whether it’s gluten free, dairy free or if you are just watching your weight:

– Offer to bring something! This is especially great if it is an appetizer type party so you can just snack on your dish or offer to bring an alternate dish for a sit down dinner to ensure you have a full meal.

– Call the host a few days ahead to ask about the menu. Calling ahead is helpful so you are not bothering the host day of with questions and he or she can even modify a few recipes if needed.

– If you are more concerned with calories, having a fiber and protein filled snack before the party can help decrease the temptation to splurge. Black bean soup or a half turkey sandwich on gluten free bread would be great choices.

While dietary concerns like food sensitivities and trying to watch your weight can make the holiday season a challenge, with some advanced planning, you can truly enjoy the dinner and cocktail parties and the time with friends and family

 


Holiday Survival Strategy w High Protein

Here is the ONLY weight loss strategy to stick during the holiday season. Everything you do toward maintaining a healthy diet is great but if you can’t commit to anything else during this time, please commit to this:

Have 20 – 30 grams of protein at breakfast EVERY SINGLE DAY.

 It’s simple, easy and cost effective.

From Oct. 20th until the New Year (or any 2.5 month period over a major holiday or life event) your goal is to just get through, with your focus being to add 20-30 grams of protein at your breakfast.

Here are some examples of protein sources with 6-30 gram protein per serving:

– 2 scoops of protein powder (24 gm.): pea, whey, soy, hemp (average 2 Tlbs. per 1scoop=12gm. protein) -put in a green vegetable / fruit smoothie

– 2 large eggs (14 gm.) or 1/2 cup of egg whites (13 gm.)

– 3 Tbs. of Hemp or Chia Seeds (10-11 gm.)

– 1 ounce of nuts or seeds – average: (6 gm.)

– 1 cup of cottage cheese (28 gm.)

– 1 cup plain Greek Yogurt (23 gm.)

– 6 oz. tofu (8 gm.) = one half of 12 oz. package

– 1 cup mature fresh soybeans (29 gm.)

– 1 cup other beans cooked (15 gm.)

– 3 ounces of fatty fish (22 gm.)

– 3 ounces turkey breast meat (30 gm.)

– 3 ounces lean beef (30 gm.)

That’s it. You have your mission. Think of how proud you will feel in just over 2 month’s time from now when you look in the mirror and realize that you achieved your goal.

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