How to Eat Healthier During the Holidays

Making Healthy Choices During the Holidays

The holidays are a great time for relaxing with family and friends, taking time to participate in festive activities such as holiday parties and celebrations that typically include lots of food and drink. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, right?! 😉 Yes, but perhaps not so much for our bodies.

Anytime we consume more sugar than we’re used to, our bodies become more acidic than usual. Ideally, we want our bodies to be in an alkaline state (more on this in an upcoming post). Sugar has been proven to be more addictive than cocaine. Yup. And it’s in so many of the food-like products that are available.

However, many online recommendations for staying away from sweets during the holidays simply say “just say no” or “go for a walk” or one of my favorites, “weigh yourself everyday.” I’m not sure how those suggestions will ultimately help because when I was addicted to sugar, walking away from cookies and cake was near impossible! And the temptations around the holidays are everywhere. From the coworkers who bring in donuts to the late afternoon “pick me ups” when you’re approaching dinner time. 

So here’s the secret to waiving off the sugar cravings and making healthier choices during the holidays or anytime for that matter:

Bulk up on the healthier options at the beginning of the day so the body doesn’t crave the “bad” stuff nearly as much. 

The term I learned when I trained for my certification is called “crowding out.” This was coined by Joshua Rosenthal, the founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. What it means is that instead of focusing on what you “can’t have,” focus on adding more nutritious foods into your daily repertoire and this will naturally “crowd out” the non-nutritious options.

Tweetable Waive off cravings for non-nutritious options. Bulk up on healthy options early in the day. @staceycrew

Now you may have four or five parties in a week during the holidays that you are invited to attend. It may be business obligations or family get togethers. Or, better yet, the parties you actually look forward to each year as a tradition to starting the holiday season.

Whichever type of party it is, be sure to plan ahead in terms of what you eat, especially on the the day of the party. Begin by cutting back or eliminating the carbonated drinks and drink more water (this is a go-to way to keep your body’s internal systems moving). If you pre-game with healthier options, then once you arrive at the party, you can indulge a little without feeling like you need to gobble up the entire table. Kidding, but I know for me, it used to feel that way!

Tweetable Pre-game for holiday parties by eating healthy and drinking lots of water to stay hydrated. @staceycrew #holidays #healthtip

This will also help you avoid the holiday food hangover and you likely won’t be as tempted to overindulge. Remember, too, that alcohol contains a lot of sugar. So having a cocktail is often-times the equivalent to eating a donut, when it comes to the sugar content. If you do imbibe, have one glass of wine followed by a water to re-hydrate.

Here are some simple suggestions for allowing yourself to enjoy by planning ahead:

  1. Pre-game with healthy options — On party day, skip the breakfast donuts, eat a hard-boiled egg and some oatmeal instead. For lunch, eat a clean salad (add some meat or beans for protein) with an olive oil-based dressing (bottled ones contain a lot of sugar – read the label) and some healthy snacks in between. Go-to healthy snacks include an apple, carrots and hummus, and strawberries. If you’ll be heading to a party directly after work or in the early evening, consider stopping for a juice or a made-from-scratch-smoothie.
  2. Cut-back on carbonated drinks  especially diet ones (yes!), are loaded with chemicals that create inflammation in the body and wreak havoc on our digestive track. One 12-ounce can of diet coke contains 39 grams of sugar. The daily recommended maximum of added sugars per day for women is 25 grams and for men it’s 37.5 grams. So, one 12-OUNCE can (and most people are drinking 16-oz or 32-oz drinks) of diet coke and you’re already blown your daily sugar intake. Carbonated drinks are one of the main reasons people have trouble losing weight and can’t get rid of the spare tire.
  3. Increase your water intake Again, this is a go-to health booster. Most people are walking around dehydrated and don’t even know it. Better yet, start a warm lemon water routine each morning to lubricate your body’s internal systems. You’ll be amazed at the results by incorporating this one change in your morning routine.

So, choose one of the above and you’ll be way ahead of the game! Now go and enjoy the holiday season!

If you found this post helpful, please share with your friends and on social media. Also, please comment below and share your plan for eating healthier throughout the holidays.

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