Healthy Eating Hacks for the Holidays
On average, Americans gain approximately one to two pounds during the holiday season. While this weight gain isn't dramatic, research shows it tends to stick and accumulate over the years. Luckily, those pounds can be avoided through mindful eating in moderation and a few simple strategies.
Tip: Use a smaller plate
This allows you to put less food on your plate and encourages proper portion sizes. Before you go back for seconds, drink a glass of water and wait 10 minutes to see if you really are still hungry.
Tip: Eat low to high (when it comes to calories)
Start with a broth-based soup, fresh salad, or veggie dish, then move on to the lean proteins. By the time you reach for the desserts, a few bites will be all you need to feel satisfied.
Tip: Become a food snob
Have you ever watched a cooking show, and were amazed by how those judges only took one bite? It's because they know that there is more good stuff coming! Take this approach to your holiday meals - unless it is truly the best thing you have ever tried, take only a bite or two and leave the rest on your plate.
Tip: Eat mindfully
Set your fork down while talking to others, and only take bites when you can actively focus on enjoying the smell, taste, and texture of each bite. Since it takes 15-20 min for your digestive system to let your brain know that you're satisfied, this will naturally help you slow down and stop eating before you feel stuffed.
Tip: Three bites, then good night
Stick to the three-bite rule for desserts: The first bite is the best, the last the grand finale, and every bite in between is the same. In three bites, you get the full dessert experience, so really focus on savoring those three and you're less likely to overindulge.
Tip: Plan your workouts around your big meals
As we talked about last month, the days when you burn the most calories should be the days when you eat the most calories. Knowing this, try planning to do a workout right before the feast so that your body will put those extra calories to use as it rebuilds and recovers. Alternatively, try adding some physical activity after the meal. This is a great time to go for a walk and catch up with family members, or play catch or a game of basketball with the kids.
For more helpful tips, I recommend reading the Holiday Survival Guide: The Fitness and Nutrition Edition.
BHC Nutrition Coach