We’ve all been there… trying to stay healthy throughout the holidays can be super tough! Maybe you made it through Thanksgiving by cooking delicious healthy holiday recipes and now the most happiest time of the year is upon us full of opportunities to be merry, stuff our tummies, and throw back a few glasses of eggnog. Plus, you have work parties, friends’ parties, and maybe your own to host. How do you truly enjoy all of the social engagements and stay true to your health goals? Overall, moderation is key. But in case you need some help, here are a few common scenarios and a game plan to help you stay the course!
Scenario: You’re afraid of drinking too much eggnog (or “other”) at the office party….
Stay the course. To outsmart calories (eggnog packs more than 200 a cup) and hangovers at future fetes, order a mixed drink, such as vodka and club soda; it is low in calories (about 100), easy to dilute (just add soda), and less likely to cause a humongous hangover. The darker the booze, the worse you’ll feel the next day. That’s because dark liquor contains more congeners, chemicals produced during the fermentation process that are to blame for many hangover symptoms. Also avoid screwdrivers, vodka and cranberry juice, and other drinks made with fruit… The sugar in these cocktails will leave you craving more of the sweet stuff, making pecan pie, peppermint bark, Christmas cookies, you name it, irresistible.
Scenario: You’re afraid of going overboard at tonight’s holiday dinner.
Stay the course. When you’re dining at a friend’s or a relative’s, bring a healthy dish that you can dig into guilt-free. Then choose sweet potatoes over mashed with gravy, and broccoli over green bean casserole. Skip the rolls even if they’re whole wheat; chances are you already have plenty of carbs. Help yourself to a double serving of salad to fill up without filling out, and just say no when Aunt Edna insists that you have another spoonful of her stuffing (’tis the season for food pushers!). A little humor will take the edge off, so say, “Your stuffing is so good, but if I eat another bite I’ll be more stuffed than that bird!” When you play hostess, fix lighter fare (make your green bean casserole with fresh beans and sautéed onions rather than cream of mushroom soup and fried onions). And since Christmas leftovers are even more delectable and easier to overindulge in, send guests home with doggie bags.
scenario: You haven’t been to the gym in more than two weeks.
Stay the course. Take baby steps, every day. Even a 20-minute walk will keep you in the exercise habit and chances are you’ll be inspired to keep going. No time to hit the gym? Shape up in your living room with an exercise ball, 5-pound weights, and a resistance band. Or sneak fitness into your holiday to-dos…Combing the mall for two hours blasts about 350 calories; boost the burn by doing biceps curls with shopping bags while waiting to pay for gift number 207. If you’re really moving, an hour spent climbing up and down a ladder hoisting lights is comparable to an easy workout.
Get out there and enjoy your Holiday parties while staying true to your goals! You can do it!