Discipline goes out the window and before long I’ve consumed a month's worth of calories in a day – or so it seems!
Sadly, if you are like me and you think once a year festive feasting doesn’t have a lasting impact on your waistline, an article on the Harvard Health Blog says otherwise. “By eating just 200 extra calories a day — a piece of pecan pie and a tumbler of eggnog here, a couple latkes and some butter cookies there — you could pack on two to three pounds over this five- to six-week period. That doesn’t sound like much, except few people shed that extra weight in the following months and years.”
Add to this the dangers of consuming too much alcohol during the holidays, a time when many people like to have drink or two, or ten... and you can see a recipe for trouble brewing. Alcohol is one of the main causes of an unhealthy metabolism and rapid weight gain.
It turns out that gaining weight isn't the only issue when you eat too much. Apart from giving you uncomfortable symptoms like indigestion, bloating and flatulence, overeating can actually trigger serious conditions, like gallstone attacks or even worse, heart attacks.
Healthy Holiday Eating - Is It Possible?
Good news! The answer is yes. Healthy holiday eating is possible. There are healthy alternatives to holiday food that taste great without depriving you of your favorite festive foods. After all, who wants to nibble on a carrot at the dinner table!
Before we look at some recipes, there are some healthy holiday tips when at a meal or buffet.
- Eat small portions. Serve food on a smaller plate.
- Be mindful. Pay attention to what you are eating.
- Chat. The more you talk, the less you eat!
- Fill up on vegetables and avoid anything deep fried. Vegetables are lower in calories and much better for you.
- Try to avoid sugary drinks and cocktails and opt for something with club soda.
- Remember to do this all year round, not just during the holidays!
- Make dips with yogurt or coconut milk, not full fat cream.
- Eat the white meat on the turkey rather than the dark meat.
- Eat cranberry relish instead of cranberry sauce. Less sugar, fewer additives, less corn syrup.
- Sweet potatoes are a lot better for you than ordinary potatoes or yams.
- Drink wine or cider instead of eggnog.
- Eat pretzels or popcorn instead of salted peanuts.
- Look for recipes that use nut flour like chestnut and almond instead of white flour. They are gluten free and higher in fiber.
- Try a healthy smoothie instead of breakfast cereal. You could use Xtend Life's Zupafood Greenz
- Replace your coffee with a delicious turmeric latte (golden milk).
Eating healthily over the festive season doesn't have to mean sacrificing all the fun. Remember that incorporating just one or two healthy alternatives is a good start and everything in moderation. Happy holidays! And don’t forget to drink plenty of water!