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Healthy holiday tips: eat what you want this Thanksgiving without skipping the dessert



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Go ahead, eat that piece of cake. Just make healthy choices when it comes to most of your meals.


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This story is part of Holiday Survival Guide 2019 with tips on the best ways to manage the holiday season.

If you find yourself typing "how to prevent weight gain vacation" in the Google search bar this year, know that you are not the only one: research shows that adults tend to lose weight between mid-November and mid-January, even those who are actively trying to lose or maintain their weight. And while it is certainly not the end of the world if you win a few pounds these holidays – a few pounds is nothing compared to the lifelong happy memories that come from food-oriented gatherings – you can take a few steps to get the pressure you feel around holiday food .

One of the biggest problems for many people is the development of an all-or-nothing mindset: Give up your healthy eating attempts all together and "get back on track" when the new year is over, or the holiday months spend in fear of food, refuse dessert at every function.

In reality you can remove yourself from both categories, because it is completely possible to stick to your healthy eating plan (and to avoid a food coma ) while enjoying the food and the festivities fully Thanksgiving .

Use these nine tips to make all holiday gatherings stress-free when it comes to food. But don't forget to read also on how to get that dreaded food coma (also known as holiday hangover) and lots of other tips for to keep you relaxed during one of the busiest and most stressful times of the year .

1. Bring your own meal to the party

There is no better way to share your healthy intentions with friends and family than by making them a nutritious meal. Nowadays you can find all kinds of healthy recipes online that meet every diet you can imagine. For example, try these paleo Instant Pot recipes or these Whole30-compatible dishes .

Oh, and if you want to save some money on the healthy ingredients you need, you can navigate through Whole Foods (and other supermarkets) for the best deals as follows.

2. Practice conscious eating

Eating while being distracted can have a major impact on your weight and overall health. That doesn't mean that you have to eat alone and in silence all the time (because, boring), but you have to make a point of watching your food.

Appreciate the smells, tastes and textures during the meal, as well as the environment you are in and the people you are with. Maybe you just notice that mindfulness helps you eat less.

3. Beware of counter tops and office spaces

If there are two hotspots for holiday treats, kitchen tables and office spaces take the cake – literally. It's so easy to grab a handful of goodies while you walk, but resist the urge. You will enjoy eating more if you actually sit down to eat a meal instead of kicking mouthful, anyway.

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During the holidays, treats are easily available and easy to wipe off kitchen tops. Resist the urge to grab one along the way and instead enjoy it during or after a meal.


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4. Don't skimp on sleep

Have you ever noticed how you crave sugary or salty foods when you're exhausted? That is not only in your head: lack of sleep can seriously change your appetite. Research shows that poor sleep is associated with increased food intake and an increased risk of weight gain, so make sure you get enough Z & # 39; s at night.

5. Keep stress under control

During the holidays, all our normal tasks and responsibilities are exacerbated by holiday shopping, extra cooking, taking care of children who do not go to school, receiving guests and attending functions. If it all feels too much, it probably is. Try to free up some time for yourself and decompress – high stress is linked to overeating, especially from hyper-digestible foods that often contain a lot of fat and sugar.

6. Grab the protein

Of all macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fat), protein is the most satiating. Studies suggest that eating a lot of protein can reduce your appetite and help with both weight loss and weight retention – so don't feel bad about going back on the turkey for seconds.

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Filling turkey and vegetables is never a bad idea – protein and fiber help you stay full.


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7. Filling with fibers

Fiber helps to keep your digestive system regular and helps you, just like proteins, to sustain you. Fiber-rich foods often provide fewer calories with more volume, which means that you can be satisfied with fewer calories.

For example, a cup (about 100 grams) of broccoli contains only 31 calories and offers 2.4 grams of fiber. Fiber-like foods such as vegetables and whole grains also contain vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to keep you healthy.

8. Don't go hungry to the supermarket

If you go hungry to the store, this can cause you to do a real version of the shopping cart dance: wipe anything and everything off the shelves while you walk. This is extra risky during the holidays, when the aisles are chock-full of cookies, cakes, sweets and other delicacies.

Do your best to eat a snack or meal before you go shopping, so you don't end up with a cart full of mints and snickerdoodles – you save money and calories.

9. Also do not cook while you are hungry

A taste test or two can turn a good meal into a fantastic meal. However, if you are hungry, a few taste tests can easily extend to what would form a full meal. Fight temptations to eat the meal you cook early by taking a snack before you shop in the kitchen. Bonus points if it contains fibers, proteins or healthy fats that keep you full.

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Taste testing of your holiday meals is all good until you have eaten enough to form a whole meal. Try to avoid cooking on an empty stomach so that you can save space for the real thing.


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10. Limit liquid calories

During the holidays, it seems that every weekend (and many weekday evenings) are scheduled with meetings, from friend invitations to work parties to family functions. All of these events usually relate to alcohol and I am not talking about skinny margaritas.

No, it's all eggnog and pointed hot chocolate and martini with pecan pie. Although one or two will not make or break your diet, try making simple drinks, a low-calorie mixer, and berries or citrus fruits. For example, vodka and sparkling water with broken raspberries and blackberries provide a refreshing, low-calorie (and beautiful!) Drink.

11. Stay hydrated

Sometimes your body sends signals from your brain to hunger when you are actually just thirsty. There is no one-size-fits-all number for water intake, but a good approach is to drink at least 8 ounces of water every one to two hours, and more when you train. Staying hydrated can ward off false signals of hunger and prevent you from eating food that you don't really want or need.

12. Don't let others influence you

If you often find yourself avoiding comments like "That's all you're going to eat?" or "Really no dessert?", tell friends and family when enough is enough. No one should be ashamed of their dietary preferences, whether they eat healthily or not. Don't let others condemn you – stay with your guns and eat the way you want.

13. Everything in moderation

Even if you are on a diet, give yourself some room for pampering if you want. After all, it's the holiday and it's not every day that your grandmother eats homemade pumpkin pie. You should not feel guilty about enjoying the food you love while you spend time with people you love. In addition, restricting yourself to certain foods can cause you to want those foods more and ultimately eat too much.

14. Use smaller dishes

You can tempt yourself to eat less by using smaller plates and bowls. People tend to fill their plates regardless of size, so you can eventually pack a larger plate with much more food than you need. This trick also works if you like to go back seconds – if your first plate was small, going back for seconds will not necessarily derail your healthy intentions.

15. Plan ahead

If you really take it seriously to maintain your healthy routine during the holidays, plan ahead for events. For example, if you go to a sit-down dinner in a restaurant, look up the menu online in advance. This gives you the chance to spend time viewing ingredients and nutritional facts, rather than choosing a meal under pressure in the restaurant.


The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a doctor or other qualified health care professional for any questions you may have about a medical condition or health goals.

Originally published earlier this month.


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