Do the Holidays bring you stress and anxiety about what to eat?
As a Certified Nutritionist I hear this a lot. Many clients come to me with anxious feelings about what to eat due to the higher caloric meals and the influx of sweets. This year is a bit different due to the lack of social gatherings, parties, and holiday celebrations. Nonetheless the idea of a meal that is indulgent and rich with food and traditions can bring anxiety to those who are dieting or not clear about their health journey. Let me break it down for you about how I eat, and how I recommend my clients in their programs to handle and enjoy the holidays
Don’t Skip Meals
The idea of saving your calories for the BIG MEAL, will actually do you more damage so to speak than eating consistent meals. When you skip a meal you slow down your metabolism. Your body also wants consistent energy. When you intentionally skip a meal you tend to overeat when you do eat. Which means that rich indulgent meal you were saving your calories for, you actually overeat at that meal. When you eat your routined breakfast, lunch, and dinner, your caloric intake is roughly the same at each meal. Your digestive system also will have food already in it so your hunger cues and full signal will be more controlled.
For breakfast I recommend and I eat protein. It is so important to start your day with quality protein. Here are some ideas:
Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Salmon
Yogurt Parfait with Fresh Fruit and Nuts
Cottage Cheese with Nut Butter and Honey
Honor Your Fullness
Many times at the holidays we think, we only get this meal once a year might as well over serve and over eat to extreme fullness. Extreme fullness is unhealthy for your digestive system. It greatly slows down your metabolism, is extremely uncomfortable, raises your blood sugar, makes you sleepy and groggy, and your body doesn’t get all the nutrients it should from the food due to the amount of food consumed. Here is a helpful tip…
Be realistic of your serving. Serving yourself too little with your plate so that you can feel healthy will lead you to serving more and more because you were not honestly satisfied from your first serving. It can also lead to picking at food later, which can overstuff you. Stick to your real portion size, not what you “think” you should eat.
I love to balance my plate with color and nutrients. Just like I do personally and what I recommend to all my client. Balancing your plate holiday or no holiday is a principal for healthy eating.
How to Enjoy Dessert and Sweets
Sweets and desserts usually are skipped over when you are dieting. When you are on a healthy eating journey you can learn to enjoy dessert and not skip it over. This always shocks people but, eating dessert can actually help you lose weight and stay consistent with eating healthy.
After eating consistent meals, not skipping meals and saving calories, not over eating at the holiday meal, and listening to your hunger and fullness cues is how you can incorporate desserts and sweets and stay on your healthy eating journey. Here is a helpful tip:
You don’t have to skip dessert, just serve yourself the portion you truly want. Too small and just like your main meal you will go back for more and more and more, which leads to a lot of sugar and too many sweets. If it is a cookie, serve the cookie on a plate or napkin and sit to eat it. Standing and not serving your dessert leads to mindless eating. Eat your dessert with intention and mindfully. It is worth it!
During the holidays vegetables are usually low on the list. Eat your vegetables routinely. Vegetables provide you with so many nutrients, fiber, and water. If you are in charge of cooking or bringing a dish make a green vegetable dish so that you can stay consistent with your vegetables.
Drink your water! During the holidays you may tend to go for the cocktails and mocktails. Staying hydrated will help to keep your digestive system normal and your body hydrated.
Enjoy! The holidays come around once year. Enjoy the celebrations mindfully, enjoy the traditions that are so strongly associated with holidays, enjoy those that you celebrate with. This year more than ever the holidays may mean a bit more than any other year. The holidays are a small part of your grand health journey so please enjoy and be healthy and safe!