INTERESTING FACT: Weight gain over the holidays (amount ranges, but can be small) are not fully lost in the months following the holidays (BMJ Study), contributing to potential accumulation of annual weight gain.
With the holidays comes joy, celebration and building memories - but it also comes with a bit less structure and more delicious traditional treat foods. This blog is here to offer some tips to help you enjoy the holidays, with a healthy twist and balance in mind. Our Healthy U 5-Step Festive Approach includes evidenced-based, highly effective and practical strategies that can be easily implemented in your holiday routine. Read on to learn more about these strategies - you might want to write down a couple of pointers that resonate most with you!
Healthy U 5-Step Festive Approach:
STEP ONE: Come up with a plan in advance.
Early intervention is key! Creating a plan in advance equips you with the tools you need to stay on track and maintain your health goals, despite our vulnerable holiday circumstances (e.g. indulgent meals, bountiful buffets, cookie swaps, holiday parties and treats all around!).
What type of plan are we thinking? Keep it simple by brainstorming your personal goals over the holidays, and strategies you will follow to help ensure they are achieved! Let’s break this down further by elaborating on the areas you can focus on (don’t forget to track them in a journal / chart to hold you accountable to your holiday game plan):
Write down your holiday eating schedule, that includes eating within 1-hour of waking, and then every 2-3 hours thereafter.
Build a grocery list that includes ingredients for healthy holiday recipes (e.g. cauliflower mash instead of mashed potato) and loads of vegetables, fruit and lean protein to nibble on throughout the day!
Create an activity plan that includes a balance of activity living movement (e.g. walking instead of driving, or using the stairs instead of the elevator) and structured exercise sessions (e.g. 30-minute cardio workout or 20-minute yoga session).
STEP TWO: Offer to bring a healthy dish to your family-style holiday meal, and swap standard recipes for healthier versions.
Delicious foods are a BIG component of the holiday seasons! Many holiday classics can be made using a healthy twist and still taste delicious! Vegetables, fruit and lean proteins are food groups that offer more satiety and menu satisfaction. Building recipes around these food groups can help build a more enjoyable plate that aligns with your health goals.
Need inspiration? Check out some of our classic recipes for the holidays:
STEP THREE: Enjoy a small snack within 1-hour BEFORE family-style holiday meal.
Avoid arriving on an empty stomach. Ensuring you are regularly fueled throughout the day helps to maintain energy levels and regulate your mood and food behaviors. Approaching an indulgent family-style meal with less hunger can facilitate your ability to stick to your healthy plan!
Need some simple easy snack ideas? We got you covered!
Before arriving to a holiday feast, why not munch on some of our favorite snack combinations:
3 mini cucumbers + 1 light Babybel cheese
1 cup snap peas + 2 tbsp light tzatziki dip
1 bell pepper, sliced + 2 tbsp hummus
1 cup carrot sticks + ½ cup roasted chickpeas/fava beans
1 cup celery sticks + 2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 cup berries + ½ cup 0% Greek yogurt
1 apple + 2 tbsp pumpkin seeds