The holidays: the time of butter-filled cookies, hopped-up eggnog, and gravy on everything. Nothing wrong with enjoying yourself, but why not cut some corners (that is, off your love handles) when you can?
Think before you eat
Everyone and their co-worker is going to bake cookies. You’re going to be surrounded. Before automatically swiping one of those buttery bad boys, ask yourself: do I really want to eat this? Maybe you do. But you’ll be munching enough this season without doing so unthinkingly.
Go easy on the heavy hitters (especially the drinks)
Eating conscientiously doesn’t mean you have to totally deprive yourself. Instead, have a little, really savor it, and then call it quits. Sip a small glass of eggnog; have half a brownie. And remember that sweet and creamy alcoholic drinks can hide hundreds upon hundreds of calories. If you want a real buzz-kill, check out Health’s list of 52 holiday foods you shouldn’t eat. My advice: eat it if you really want to, but slowly and in small amounts.
Substitute when possible
There are many ways to make fun foods a little healthier. When baking, use whole wheat for at least half the flour, and use applesauce instead of oil. Try yogurt instead of sour cream or mayonnaise. Look up substitutions for traditional dishes, like peas in guacamole or cauliflower in mashed potatoes. You can even substitute one dish for another: veggies and hummus for chips and dip, for example.
Go meatless on off-days
Not every day or every meal is a holiday party; on regular days between the festivities, stay healthy. This can be hard, as you’ll probably get used to consuming more sugar and fat than normal. Most party meals are meat-heavy, so cook vegetarian when you’re not entertaining (or even when you are!). Don’t fall into the trap of eating cinnamon buns or pecan pie for breakfast, just because it’s the holidays. In other words, try to maintain healthy eating habits between the indulgences.
Stick with regular coffee
Ever notice that coffee chains will use the holidays as an excuse to sell you even pricier lattes—ones packed full of sugar and fat? Careful, there. A Starbucks Eggnog Latte is almost 500 calories or more. Translation: about as much as your lunch should have. Skip the “coffee drinks” and go with regular coffee.
Stay tuned for some great healthy holiday recipes!