Let’s be real: the holiday season is not just about merriment and looking forward to the next year. It also means sweet, savory treats and booze that are too hard to resist. Bring on the creamy eggnog, wine, and extra helpings of pie this holiday season!
But does that mean that you should also welcome the not-so-healthy food fest and sidelined gym routines?
At Hauser Health, we usually noticed a rise in patient inquiries and visits in our Maryland functional medicine clinic on how to eat cleaner and maintain a healthy weight during the holidays.
Instead of saying no to sugar cookies and bacon-wrapped dates on the table (which by the way is an unrealistic move), here’s a 5-step plan to eating healthy and clean without sacrificing flavor during the holidays!
1. Start your day off right with a high-protein breakfast.
You’ve probably thought about skipping breakfast or brunch so your three slices of pumpkin pie and big supper later in the day won’t make you feel guilty. You need to break this bad habit asap and replace it with sticking to a healthy, protein-packed breakfast. What’s with protein? A high-protein breakfast keeps you full longer which in turn tempers your urge to overeat and indulge on treats.
2. Make room for healthy fat and fiber when prepping holiday meals.
Your holiday spread doesn’t have to be loaded with unhealthy ingredients to look appealing and delicious. For instance, you can try adding coconut oil, nuts, flax, fruits, and pureed veggies into your holiday baked goods instead of butter and other vegetable oils. The fat and fiber combo have been shown to help you feel full and avoid frequent hunger pangs.
3. Walk and move around as much as you can.
As the holidays draw near, it’s not uncommon for your daily workout and gym routine to slip to the bottom of your daily to-do list.
Why not use this busy time of the year to walk as much as you can as you shuffle between groceries, meeting out-of-town guests at the airport, cleaning, and Christmas shopping? The cold winter air is also an excellent time for 30-minute HIIT workouts, jog, or even yoga!
This habit won’t only help you maintain a healthy weight but moving around also gives your endorphin levels an extra boost. As a result, you feel good about yourself, and you’re not tempted to binge-eat.
4. Reduce stress and increase mindfulness with a quick meditation.
Emotional eating is for real. Whenever we’re anxious or stressed out, it’s too easy to grab the nearest sugary treat to feel better. The solution is to take steps to reduce stress and be more mindful of your thoughts and feelings.
A peer review of 24 studies published in American Journal of Nutrition revealed that “attentive eating” plays a huge role in the type of food that people eat—as well as how much they eat—and it helps people remember what they ate later on.
With that said, it makes sense to do a quick mindful meditation every day to boost your mindful eating experience. At our functional medicine practice in Maryland, we highly recommend the Headspace app.
5. Sleep smart.
What’s the connection between sleep and eating healthy this holiday season?
For a start, getting enough sleep is linked to less body weight while chronic sleep loss is associated with unwanted weight gain. So whether you’re a morning lark or a night owl, getting enough snooze should be a priority even during the holidays.
Your Next Step
Would you like to talk to us about your holiday season diet and lifestyle woes?
Schedule an appointment with Hauser Health if you’re in Frederick and surrounding areas in Maryland. We’ll work with you to build a solid, realistic plan to eat healthy this holiday season and in the coming year ahead!