How to Manage Holiday Junk Food

Here are some tips on how to get through all the holiday parties and potlucks while maintaining a healthy lifestyle, good energy, and your waistline! …because Summer bodies are made in the Winter!

Have Your Own Pre-party

Just like it isn’t wise to cruise the grocery store on an empty stomach, you can’t show up to a holiday party feeling ravenous. Avoid this scenario by having a small meal or snack before you hit the party. You’ll arrive less famished and more prepared to make healthy selections.

Follow the 80/20 Rule

The “80%” is the clean, healthy, unprocessed, high-fiber foods we should be eating most of the time, while the “20%” is the junk food or cocktails of your choice. If you plan to have a few drinks with dinner, opt for something like baked fish and a salad with an oil-based dressing. If you don’t drink, then you can order that bacon cheeseburger. Refrain from allowing the 20% to grow to 30 or 40%. Or bank it – eat extra healthy over the week so you can indulge a little more on the weekend!

Be a Buffet Hover Hater

Certain holiday gatherings can be awkward, and too often we find ourselves making small talk while using food as a distraction. Try positioning yourself AWAY from the buffet. Get a drink (non-alcoholic or otherwise) to occupy your hands, and purposely hang out far away from the food. You’ll find you graze less and mingle more.

Give a Healthy Hostess Gift

Don’t let your healthy habits lapse just because it’s holiday time. If you’re going to contribute to a party, why not bring something healthy? That also ensures there’s something there you can eat and will enjoy.  Costco has some great options like kale salad, veggie/fruit platters, hummus dip, or apple chips!

Put Extra Effort into Exercise

Don’t wait until the New Year to get your exercise program on track. If you know you’ll be eating and drinking more calories than usual this time of year, double down on your workouts. It’s true that you cannot out-exercise your diet, but a few extra minutes of cardio will help minimize the guilt. Parties should be enjoyed, and exercise is one way to allow for that.

Choose the Healthier Alternative

There are many reason why alcohol isn’t good for you, but if you must have a celebratory holiday drink, opt for healthier alternatives like Vodka soda with lime or a splash of juice, Gin martini, Red wine, Whiskey on the rocks, etc.  Basically, the less sugar, the better.

Indulge on Your Terms

Eat and drink what you’d like, but consume less of it. Low-calorie does not always translate to better nutrition, so enjoy smaller portions of full-taste and full-fat foods. If you like dessert, then a 3” x 3” double-fudge brownie with a single a scoop of ice cream is a better choice than half a pan of low-fat brownies made with applesauce.

Do you have any strategies to avoid completely indulging in holiday junk food?  Share in the comments section!



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