Along with the many joys of the holidays come the many calorie-laden temptations that can really throw a monkey wrench into your well-devised healthy eating habits. But instead of losing the battle of the holiday bulge, heed these expert holiday diet tips from Keri Glassman, founder and president of Keri Glassman, Nutritious Life, a nutrition practice based in New York City.
One of the Nutritious Life pillars is “Sleep Deep,” because getting enough sleep should always be a big priority — even during the holidays. When you don’t sleep, you are more likely to over-consume the next day — it’s that simple. Your hunger hormones increase and your satiety hormones decrease: In other words, you want to eat more! Be like a kid and adhere to bedtime. Chances are you’ll also be more productive and even have more energy at the gym to burn off those sneaky holiday calories.
Keep power foods on hand
Keep five foods at home in the freezer and/or pantry that you can use to make dinner in a flash. Instead of coming home from holiday parties and eating leftover Chinese or stuffing your face with cheese puffs because you have nothing to eat at home, you can end the day on a healthy, balanced, sensibly portioned note by being prepared with your fave frozen five. “Some of my faves to keep around: Applegate Farm’s turkey burgers, chicken sausage, Trader Joe’s frozen artichokes, Seapoint Farm’s Garden Blend frozen veggies and Cascadian Farm’s frozen veggies,” Glassman says. Chicken sausage and artichokes sauteed with olive oil, anyone? Yum!
Tackling crowds, lines and making buying decisions can be draining. The time can also fly by, and before you know it, you’re eating the dark chocolate you bought as a stocking stuffer. Eat a meal before shopping and bring fuel with you. Pack your purse with a portioned bag of mixed nuts or an apple with an individual packet of nut butter -– both are healthy and tasty power snacks.
Another Nutritious Life pillar is “Drink Up!” In the winter months, you might be less thirsty and drinking less water. Staying hydrated will help your metabolism run efficiently and help you stay energized and be less likely to mistake thirst for hunger. So go ahead and get to know green tea and herbal tea if cold water is unappealing in the colder months. Just keep drinking!
Ruin your appetite
Absolutely do not save room for the big holiday meal. This attitude only gets you into trouble! Eat breakfast to get your metabolism going and eat small meals during the day. Also, have a real snack before you go to a holiday dinner or party. Those two slices of turkey or a hardboiled egg and two high-fiber crackers are likely to save you hundreds of calories at the meal because you won’t be going headfirst into the breadbasket or polishing off the pigs in blankets!
Not only is Glassman’s advice both practical and useful, it’s actually do-able any time of the year! So now you have no excuse not to stay on track with the sensible diet parameters you’ve committed yourself to for life. You really can enjoy the holidays while still staying committed to your health.
Watch: How to stick to your diet during the holidays
With all the parties and dinners during the holidays, sticking to your diet can be a daunting challenge. But it’s possible to survive the holidays without starving yourself.