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Having Fun and Good Health Through the Holidays - Eating Well

It will come as no surprise to you that the holidays can be a challenging time to maintain the healthy lifestyle you have established throughout the rest of the year. The holidays are often filled with increased levels of stress, increased eating opportunities filled with delicious drinks, desserts and heavy meals, decreased exercise and decreased time for adequate sleep.

heartbeatDoes it have to be this way? I don't believe it does. What are 2 things that you need to do to make that happen?

1. To decide that your healthy lifestyle is worth preserving through to the new year.

2. To plan ahead (which you should be in the habit of doing anyway), to manage the challenges up ahead.

What we may consider "the holidays" could continue from mid November through January. I will be focusing my articles through this time on choices you can make to successfully manage these months and arrive at January 1 feeling happy, healthy and proud that you ended the year with a bang!

The challenge of the holidays

There can be a number of challenges around eating well through the holidays. Your place of work may be well stocked with food gifts from vendors, cookies brought from colleagues, candy around each corner and of course the lunches, happy hours and holiday parties that you may be obligated to attend. In addition, your social calendar may be fuller than usual due to dinners and parties with friends and family.

What are some of the eating challenges you experience throughout this time of year? Take a minute to write them down. By first acknowledging the barriers to maintaining your healthy eating habits the easier it will be to start addressing how to confront and manage those barriers.

Now that you have an idea what challenges are specific to you, think about ways that you can begin to address those barriers.

Better food choices

Here is a list of ways to make better food choices:

1. Eliminate the guilt. A reminder - weight loss may not be as realistic throughout the holidays. Consider weight maintenance as a great goal during the holiday season. Added guilt is not going to make things better.

2. Eat breakfast. Start your day with a healthy and hearty breakfast. Be sure to choose protein as part of your breakfast to give you sustained energy for your morning.

Simple breakfast ideas:

leftovers from dinner
scrambled eggs mixed with sautéed vegetables (leafy greens work great, add onions or garlic for great flavor), whole wheat toast and fruit
oatmeal with chopped walnuts, slivered almonds and fresh or frozen berries
smoothie - leafy greens, fruit, nut butter and/or protein supplement, milk/water or milk alternative
nuts and fruit
hard boiled egg with oatmeal, smoothie, or fruit and toast
3. Add fruits and vegetables whenever possible. Skip those with added sauce or toppings. By filling up on healthy fruits and vegetables full of fiber and water there will be less room for high calorie options.

4. Plan for snacks. If you have healthy and delicious snacks available you will be less tempted by the treats all around and you will not find yourself overly hungry throughout the day making the food around you less appealing.

5. Make a plan. If you know there will be a higher calorie meal for dinner, cut back a bit on how much you eat that day or the day before or after the event. But DON''T go hungry. Eating too little will likely backfire and create overeating.

6. Cook. If you can prepare foods for your regular meals and as a dish to bring for a social event you will be nourishing yourself well and minimizing the high calorie, high sugar options.

7. Choose simple foods. Choose grilled meats and fresh produce. By avoiding saucesArticle Submission, deep fried foods and high sugar foods you will be well on your way to the start of a healthy new year.

Just a few simple steps to plan ahead for eating through the holiday season will help you to manage your weight and feel great through the holiday season.

Lynda Enright

Lynda Enright, MS, RD, CLT is certified as a Wellness Coach and LEAP Therapist who partners with women who want to look and feel amazing by helping them lose weight and reduce inflammation which can cause fatigue, bloating, acid reflux, congestion, brain fog or achy joints.