Starting a diet, or keeping one, through the holidays isn’t exactly ideal with all of the baked goodies and hearty meals that are expected at every social gathering. But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be done. All it takes is a little planning and dedication and you can make it through any holiday.
However, do remember that it’s okay to treat yourself now and then, as long as it’s in moderation.
There’s going to be a ton of super good food during your holiday gatherings, but that doesn’t mean that you have to eat it all. Just remember to be mindful while you are eating, eat slowly, and recognize when you start to get full. When are full, or close to it, stop eating. That’s the hardest part – resisting the urge to splurge on all of the good food. If it helps, just pack a plate of leftovers for later that you can enjoy when you’re hungry again.
This is where that planning comes in. Most people bring at least one dish to their holiday gatherings, so you can use that as an opportunity to bring something healthy (and delicious) that fits within your diet. You might find that others are really appreciative of the healthy choice too. If you can, bring a couple of items that you can keep going back to throughout the day.
Choose Healthier Options
Besides brings your own food, it’s likely that there will already be some healthier options at the parties as well. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes (not too much though), veggies trays, meats and cheeses, fruits, and salads are all healthier options that tend to make an appearance for large holiday meals. Eat more of the healthy options and moderate the less healthy options.
Have a Treat Day
Maybe for the big holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, you need to have a treat day. If there’s a day when your family or friends are having a get-together, make that you designated treat day to allow yourself some yummy holiday indulgences. Just be sure to reign it in and stick to your diet outside of the treat days that you’ve chosen.
With all of the drink options available at big gatherings, it’s always best to stick to water – especially if you want to allow yourself more indulgences where food is concerned. Mixed alcoholic drinks, eggnogs, and sparkling beverages tend to have a lot of calories and sugar, so if you choose water instead, you can eat more of the food you enjoy within your diet’s restrictions. Also, drinking plenty of water will help fill you up before you eat too much too and it helps regulate your system as you deter from your standard diet.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
On the day of a huge feast, make sure you still have a small breakfast or morning snack. If you go to a holiday gathering hungry, you’ll likely eat a lot quicker (and thus more) than your body should have in one sitting. This will help you be more mindful and be able to recognize when you are full, rather than going into full-on binge mode.
This is so important! Allow yourself to have a piece of pie or some warm buttery rolls. You should enjoy your time with family, and food can play a huge part of that! Don’t go overboard, but give yourself a little leeway during this time of year.
If you’re concerned about your health through the holidays, you can always ask your family doctor to help you come up with a game plan to make it through without giving up on your endeavors.