The holidays can be troubling for many people when it comes to maintaining a healthy weight. On average, Americans gain approximately 1 to 2 pounds during the holiday season. Though this may not seem like much, these pounds tend to stick around through the following year and can accumulate as the years go on.
Luckily, you can still enjoy your favorite holiday foods and maintain a healthy weight if you practice a few simple tips. Making your favorite indulgences fit into a healthy lifestyle can be managed with a balanced diet throughout the holidays and regular physical activity.
Here are 12 tips to help you manage the holiday hurdles:
- Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity each day. You can bundle up and take a walk or bicycle ride outside or opt to stay warmer indoors by practicing yoga or trying an exercise video online.
- Plan healthy meals before and after the holiday celebration. One day of overindulgence won’t hurt if you sandwich it with healthy eating in your everyday life.
- Get up and move first thing in the morning of the big day. Run/walk with your family or create your own activity to celebrate this special occasion.
- Opt for calorie free beverages so you can enjoy your food more. Think of pairing your special meal with water, unsweetened tea, black coffee, or club soda.
- Practice eating like a king for breakfast, queen for lunch and pauper for dinner. This means eating a healthy yet filling breakfast, a delicious but not too excessive holiday lunch, and a few leftovers at dinner.
- Try filling half your plate with vegetables. This will fill you up with fiber without adding extra calories. In addition, you can still enjoy your favorite dishes on the other half of the plate.
- Avoid the risk of food borne illness by ensuring the turkey reaches a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Check the temperature at the thickest part of the breast, the innermost wing and innermost thigh.
- Use only one plate for the big meal and only pile food 1 inch high. Don’t go back for seconds unless you are still hungry after 15 minutes. This allows you to still enjoy your meal without being too full.
- Practice mindful eating. Rather than speeding through your meal, take time to savor each bite of food. You can even try putting your fork down between each bite.
- Enjoy dessert but limit it to just one dessert plate. This can mean one piece of pumpkin pie or a few small samples of your favorite treats.
- Instead of sitting around and watching the holiday movies after the big meal, play your own game with your friends, family, and/or neighbors.
- Enjoy your time with friends and family. A happy heart is a healthy heart!