As we approach the holiday season (hard to believe it is here already!), you may be asking yourself how you can prevent overindulging and weight gain.
The holidays can be challenging to maintain healthy habits for even the most virtuous people. It does not have to be all-or-nothing. There are ways to enjoy the festivities without feeling deprived or guilty.
Here are my top 10 tips for healthy holiday eating:
1. Never arrive at a gathering starving – you are more likely to overeat. Have a small meal or snack before attending in order to curb your hunger.
2. Contribute a healthy snack or dish to the gathering. This way, you know for sure that there is a healthy option to munch on.
3. Alcoholic beverages can add up – be sure to drink 1 glass of water for every alcoholic drink. This helps to maintain hydration as well as slow your consumption.
4. Avoid foods wrapped in pastry or dough. The carbohydrates and fats in these choices are more likely to cause weight gain.
5. Choose foods higher in protein and healthy fat. This will minimize your carbohydrate intake as well as provide you nutrients to keep you satisfied and therefore less likely to overeat.
6. Always load up your plate with vegetables or salad to balance out the richer foods.
7. Get adequate sleep (6-8 hours). Sleep is essential for proper digestive and hormone function. Your body will be better able to process your food choices if you get enough sleep and your appetite will be more regulated. Lack of sleep can lead to an increased appetite, especially for sugary or starchy foods.
8. Avoid common junk food that you can have anytime of the year. If you are going to indulge, choose the foods that are special and unique to this time of year.
9. Exercise! One of the best ways to combat excess calorie consumption is to burn it off with exercise, in addition to boosting your metabolism.
10. Remember, it is the holidays, which is a time for joy. Although this is not an excuse to overindulge, it does mean that it is okay to enjoy some of the foods and drinks that are not typically part of your regular diet. Enjoy your time with friends and family, without the guilt.
Dr. Bianca Drennan ND, provides nutritional consulting and naturopathic medicine services at Pacific Wellness and is available for appointments five days a week. If you would like to detoxify and trim your body, improve your lifestyle or address certain health concerns please call us at 416-929-6958 or submit your online appointment request to arrange your initial appointment. The naturopathic appointments are covered by most employee benefits.