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HOLIDAY MENU: SERVING UP HEALTHY HOLIDAY SURVIVAL TIPS

November 25, 2014

We all know how the holiday season typically goes: big dinners, holiday parties and celebrations, lots of food and drinks, and a month full of indulgences and often weight gain.

So, I’m sharing some of my best tips to help you not only survive the holidays, but thrive, just in time for the festivities, so that you can have fun, enjoy your family and friends, and still look and feel great throughout the weeks ahead!

Here’s your holiday menu:

Starters:

– Make sure you are staying HYDRATED! This is probably something I preach in most of my posts, so hopefully you’re catching on by now. Our bodies our made up of about 70% water and we need to keep replenishing them, so that we can function at an optimal level. Water also helps to cleanse our bodies and flush out waste, improve our skin and hair, and boost our energy levels. Make sure you’re drinking every day, especially during and after those more indulgent times. Before doing anything else, get in a couple cups of water to start your day.

– Eat throughout the day: Just because you are heading to a big feast for dinner, doesn’t mean you should fast all day and “save your calories” for at night. It’s important to eat healthy meals and/or snacks to keep your metabolism rocking, to fuel your body and mind, and to prevent you from being so blinded by your hunger that you gorge on stuffing, casseroles, and pies.

– Give yourself some wiggle room: Not only should you eat during the day, but make sure that what you are choosing to put into your body is healthy, clean, and nutrient dense food.  This will provide you with some wiggle room to enjoy an indulgent treat without guilt or weight gain.  Think leafy greens, avocado, lean protein, low sugar fruit, and raw nuts.

Main Course:

– Plate your food wisely: When celebrating at a dinner or party, take a plate and fill at least half of it with veggies/ salad and a 1/4 protein. This will leave another 1/4 for all those yummy extras, so you can enjoy your favorite dishes without going overboard.

– Fill your plate once: Put everything you want onto one plate and know that this will be your meal for the night- no seconds (or at least no thirds). This will help you cut back on overeating and feeling sick after your meal, which leads to my next point…

– Eat mindfully: Slow down, chew your food very thoroughly, and enjoy each and every morsel of food. Knowing that you only have this one plate should help you stay more present while you are eating and force you to slow down to make your food last a little longer.  This also means plate your food and sit down to eat— no standing next to the hors d’oeuvre table munching away handful by handful on the mixed nuts or cheese and crackers. You’ll end up eating much more than you intended and most likely start to feel gassy and bloated. And no one invited those two to the party.

Cocktails:

– Make a healthier choice: I’m not one to say no drinking (practice what you preach ), but there’s a difference between a glass of wine and a big cup of eggnog or a margarita.  When having alcohol, choose red or white wine (organic is even better, as usual) or a clear liquor (vodka, gin, or tequila) with club soda and fresh squeezed lime juice. This will keep the sugar and empty calories down while allowing you to enjoy a cocktail, guilt-free.

– See tip#1: hydrate: As you drink alcohol you want to continue consuming water, so that you avoid getting dehydrated or lose complete judgement and end up housing the entire bread bowl. In between each drink try to have a glass of water or seltzer.

Dessert:

– BYO: Going elsewhere for the holidays? Make your favorite healthy dessert to bring with, so that you have a delicious, but healthy option to enjoy. This way you can have your cake and eat it too ;).

– Sharing is caring: Want to try some of the delicious treats from the dessert buffet? Grab your significant other, your sister, or your friend and share a couple treats that look best. This way you’re getting a taste, but not over doing it.

– Make it worth your while: There’s no fun in being super restrictive and hard on yourself all holiday season long, so while I highly recommend making the healthiest choices you can, it’s important to also enjoy the holidays- and food is a big part of that. So, pick one or two desserts that seem really worth it to you and enjoy it! After all, if you’ve been following these other tips, then you deserve it.

Nightcap

– The next day can be rough if you ended up over-doing it a bit. But, let go of the regret, negative self-talk, and judgements. Even if you totally went overboard and pigged out, there is always another chance to make healthier choices, and there is absolutely NO good in dwelling on something that you cannot change.  Acknowledge that it happened, learn from how you feel, and MOVE ON.

– Shift your focus: The holidays should be more about spending time with family and friends than which of your favorite dishes your mom is going to make. Yes, we all love the holiday food, but worry less about what’s on your plate and more about who is sitting next to you. Connect with others, be in the moment, and really enjoy your company.

I hope you enjoyed this and are feeling full and satisfied!  Cheers to a wonderful Thanksgiving and holiday season!

<3

Melissa

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