It is the time of year when we go to family gatherings, work parties, and other social events to see friends and loved ones—so see them! Use the time to socialize, catch up and be present rather than overeating. A good idea is to eat prior to going out – something with protein and vegetables (especially green vegetables) to stabilize your blood sugar. When you arrive, you can focus on the people not the platters.
- Avoid allowing a one day indulgence to turn into a four day bender. After the celebration don’t turn the occasion into the season to have treats nearly every day. Avoid eating pie or sweets for breakfast or midnight snack… let the overindulge be a once a week thing. Give yourself permission to enjoy the indulgence guilt-free, and then remember to get back on track with your normal eating routine the very next day.
- Eating a high fiber, protein containing breakfast sets the tone for the entire day. Start with something that has lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and some healthy fat to give you energy and keep you satisfied until your next meal. How about a veggie omelet with fresh fruit or whole-grain, high fiber toast or whole grain hot cereal with berries and nuts?
- Alcoholic beverages add to the possibility to consume added sugar and calories without much notice. If you are going to drink – alternate sparkling or unsweetened flavored water in between drinks. Bonus is — less chance for a hangover the next day. Stay hydrated with water – thirst can sometimes be confused with hunger. Add lemon, lime or fresh ginger to your sparkling drink to make it even more festive.
- Cheese platters can feel irresistible — enjoy a small portion but make sure you add an equal if not greater serving of cut up vegetables. Skip the crackers … add the veggies.
- Don’t feel forced to eat something that will derail your health plan just because someone is offering it. Give a gracious compliment and say that you can’t wait to try it. Have a small sample.
- Sleeping is a must during this busy season. And busy it can be. Get a consistent seven to nine hours of sleep every night to regulate hormones and prevent fatigue. There is really no such thing as “catching up” on sleep, so the key is consistency.
- Keep a snack with you at all times. Traveling, running errands and shopping during the holidays can lead to some unhealthy choices on the go. Keep fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, cheese stick, yogurt on hand so that you are energized until it is time for the next healthy meal. Low blood sugar from hunger increases cortisol levels, which leads to cravings for fatty, salty, and sugary foods. Instead of saving up for the big meal, nibble on healthy snacks like raw veggies, nuts, and fruit throughout the day to avoid overeating.
- Try the “fork trick”: Once you take a bite of food, place your fork down on the plate, and let go of the fork. Chew your food, swallow, and then pick up your fork again. The key to this trick is actually letting go of the fork. This will remind you to slow down, enjoy your food, and converse with friends and family. Eating slowly = more control.
Happy Holidays from the OrthoHealth team at IBJI