There are quite a few things I love about the holidays, one of course being food. Let’s be honest, there is something about the holidays and devouring entirely way too much of your aunt’s 4-H blue ribbon pie or your grandma’s secret sweet potato casserole that just fills your holiday goodness level to the max. If you are anything like me, you tell yourself you will “be good” and not over indulged, forcing yourself to pull out your elastic sweats.
The holidays, while joyful, can be a huge temptation to fall off the wagon. A year ago shortly before the holidays were in full swing, I had to make a drastic change in the way I ate. This was completely disappointing knowing the holidays were right around the corner. So, I began to plan. I knew if I wanted to enjoy our holiday meals, I had to really be mindful of what I was eating before the constant flow of delicious carb-loaded food was passed around like a never ending carousal. With trial and error, I learned a few tricks for making it through the holidays without feeling like I took two steps back and gained five pounds along the way.
PLAN AND PLAN SOME MORE
You would think since I plan out every other aspect of my life, that planning my food for the week would be a cinch. Forget about it! This is by far the biggest struggle I have. Setting aside an hour, maybe even two, of my weekend to plan for the following week is the last thing I want to do, but boy it is one of the most important. When you plan ahead for your week to come, you aren’t making the spur of the moment decisions to “just order pizza” or pick up something on the way home from work. Meal prep is a great way to make healthy choices stick.
Planning ahead also means taking the time to really figure out your grocery list before heading to the store. After you have sat down and planned out your meals for the week, get your grocery list together and stick to it. A little trick I have is making sure I am not grocery shopping on an empty stomach. That way I am more likely to stick to my list and not be tempted to grab a treat because it is just calling out to me.
TRY NEW RECIPES
There are so many healthy alternatives to holiday meals, don’t be afraid to try them! Pinterest is my best friend when it comes to finding new healthy recipes. Whether it is flavoring the turkey in a healthier way, a different spin on pumpkin pie, or a whole new side dish, don’t hold back on bringing a new healthy option to the table. Who knows, it may become the new family favorite!
Holiday meal substitutions are a great start, but also developing clean healthy eating habits before the holidays will help you to get on track and stay on track, no matter how delicious those rolls may smell. There are so many healthy substitutions that can be made without feeling like your favorite recipe has been completely botched.
Walk 30 minutes, go for a 10-minute jog, or get a 25-minute exercise video in. If you are planning, eating healthy, and really working on getting active, you will be even more likely to not over indulge. As a mom, I understand sometimes it is just near impossible to get a real workout in 5 days a week, so start with just one more than what you are currently doing. Implementing healthy eating and wellness habits before the holidays are going to make it that much easier to pass on the larger slice of pie or the second helping of mashed potatoes.
MODERATION IS KEY
The hands down, number one, most important part of the holidays for me is getting to spend time with those I love. It inevitably will always revolve around food. Mealtime or not, there will be snacks at my disposable. I have learned self control is a huge key factor in my restraint from all the Oreo truffles and cookies galore, but allowing myself to enjoy a treat here and there is going to happen. It is a matter of knowing when I have filled my quota.
When you spend the week really being mindful of what you are eating, then that scrumptious cookie is staring you in the face, enjoy one. Not two, or three, just one. When you sit down for THE FEAST and the carousel begins, portion smaller than what you would normally portion and resist the temptation for a second round. Or even better, drink a large glass of water 20-30 minutes before you sit down for the meal, your body will be able to tell you to stop sooner and help keep you from over eating.
Being the planner that I am, I knew in order for me to be successful in any of these areas, I needed to write it out and have it in front of me. My catch-all-island in my kitchen has a special place for my meal planning and grocery lists. I created a variety of printables that I have fallen in love with. These printables have helped me stay on track with my meal prep and grocery shopping and I want to share them with you! After the New Year I will be launching my website where I will offer these printables along with much more. Be sure to visit me at Seven-Thirty.com for more tools for your everyday life.
Kelsey is a photographer & designer from Texas. She creates tools for purposeful living and will be relaunching Seven-Thirty.com in early 2016.