Holiday Season Nutrition
The festive end of year season for many people can be a time to do a lot of eating, drinking and making merry. Christmas events, end of year functions, summer barbecues and gatherings, perhaps more time at home in close proximity to foods gifted over the holidays... So how do we navigate this and continue our healthy eating journey?
Generally, this shouldn't be the time to make a push to go above and beyond with your goals. Aiming to do all your workouts and eat super healthy is great, but with all these social occasions and festivities going on it can be setting yourself up for failure. Instead, consider making it a goal to try and maintain where you're at (so that you're not beating yourself up in January for going 'off the rails'). Don't cut foods out or focus on things you 'can't' or 'shouldn't' eat, instead, practice eating everything mindfully and in moderation.
Some tips to help you through the holiday season
- Don't deprive yourself - food is so much more than calories in/calories out, allow yourself the opportunity to celebrate and socialise without avoiding foods and drinks.
- Try to stick to your balanced macronutrient portion sizes as best as possible.
- If eating a pot luck or buffet-style meal, fill up your plate properly the first time and try to not return for seconds (it can be hard to keep track/awareness of your food intake if you keep going back).
- Try to hit your daily vegetable serving goals (this is important to help you feel full, and to nourish your body with vitamins, minerals, as well as improve immunity and gut health).
- Try to hit your daily protein serving goals (this will also help keep you feeling full).
- Drinks - especially sugary ones, beer and wine - can add to your carb totals quickly and they won't keep you full. Try to be mindful of this, take sips slowly, and alternate with drinking water.
- Try to not sit down in front of an array of snacks at arms' reach, or if you do, grab a plate and allocate yourself your serving/s. It can be easy to keep picking at snacks and they're often rich in salt, sugar and/or fat (that's why they're super tasty!). Consider setting yourself up a bit of a distance away from the food so that you have to get up and move to grab more.
- If you get gifted a lot of decadent specialty foods and sweets for Christmas, it can be helpful to bear in mind that you don't need to eat them all at once. This can be a tricky one as for many people this is a difficult exercise in self-control that would normally be a setup for failure as everything is stockpiled in your house and ready to eat at any given moment! Check the use-by/best before dates on the packaging and start with the things that need to be used sooner rather than later. Be mindful of your portion sizes and make it a challenge to have that special food last longer.
Remember, healthy eating is all about what we do consistently - that doesn't mean you have to be perfect all the time. If things don't go quite to plan, brush it off and try again the next day, and absolutely enjoy your holidays!
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