Eating healthy during the holiday season

574481_454494554573857_1885235800_n.jpg photo credit- Necessary Indulgences

Towards the end of my last fitness challenge, Hot For Halloween, I asked the moms when they wanted to begin the next one.  They all voted to start ASAP- they wanted help getting through the holidays.  Since so many people choose to shovel food in their face from Halloween to Christmas then make the totally typical fitness goals on January first, I was elated that my moms chose this route.  I was all too happy to help out!

Thanksgiving will be here in a few days so I created a document in our private group with several articles on how to survive the holiday food temptations.  Several of them were repetitive so here’s a rundown with the tips I thought were the most helpful (or repeated in almost every article).

  1. If you want it, eat it.  My best friend’s best advice is “everything in moderation.”  When you deny yourself, you’re just going to want it more.
  2. Eat before the party or dinner.  I encourage my moms to eat 4-5 meals per day.  This helps boost your metabolism.  Make sure you have breakfast, a snack and lunch before you head to your big dinner.
  3. Only choose two foods at a time- and pick your favorites first.  You can get up for seconds and thirds but only choose two foods each time. **2016 edit** A better option may be to choose small portions of 4-5 favorites and only make one trip.
  4. Go easy on the nuts, gravy, sauces and whip cream.  These are easy trimmable calories.
  5. Wear tight clothing.  Don’t put on your fat pants so you can eat more.  That defeats the purpose of your goals.
  6. Get lots of rest.  Research shows that those who are well rested eat less calories.
  7. Use a smaller plate.  You don’t need the giant styrofoam holiday plate.  Choose an appetizer plate and remember you can go back for more. **2016 edit** This is my favorite tip!
  8. Take small bites and small sips.  This tricks your brains.
  9. Chew gum.  This is great all year long when you don’t want to be tempted.
  10. Skip the appetizers.  They are tempting but if you want room for the delicious turkey your mom slaved over, pass on the apps.
  11. Go easy on the alcohol.  It’ll save you from embarrassment at the holiday party and save lots of calories as well.  If you insist on having a few drinks, alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic.  Use a tall, skinny glass.
  12. If holiday treats are stacking up at the office, keep healthy snacks in your desk.  Don’t give into peer pressure.  Let them know you’ve started your New Year’s Resolution early!
  13. Weigh yourself daily.  Although I’m a big anti-scale person this is a really good tip.  Also, slip on your favorite pair of jeans once a week to make sure the muffin top is under control.
  14. Don’t over eat!  Take some Tupperware with you.  You can always eat leftovers.
  15. Sit next to another healthy eater.  Avoid Uncle Fred who piles his food like a pyramid and tries one of every dessert.
  16. While you’re running around cooking, cleaning and shopping, count your steps, do some squats, fit in a short walk, do push ups against the counter, do lunges up and down the hall or tricep dips in between wrapping presents.
  17. Steam, roast or bake instead of fry.  Use low-calorie versions of your favorites (most people won’t even notice). I can even slide fat free by my super skinny, picky husband.
  18. Bring a “clean” dish.  There are tons of clean eating recipes.  Show everyone that holiday eating doesn’t have to be fatty and high calorie.
  19. Write it down!!!  Even that bite of little Susie’s cookie.  Write down your goals and your weight.  It’s amazing what our brains start doing when it sees everything in writing.  Get an accountability partner- a reliable one (not me).  Text each other often to check in.
  20. Do a Turkey Trot or find other fun 5K runs or walks during the holiday season.  Remember to take care of YOU first so you will be healthy and fit to take care of everyone else.

Food prep tips-

Practice Healthy Holiday Cooking. Preparing favorite dishes lower in fat and calories will help promote healthy holiday eating. Incorporate some of these simple-cooking tips in traditional holiday recipes to make them healthier.

  1. Gravy — Refrigerate the gravy to harden fat. Skim the fat off. This will save a whopping 56 gm of fat per cup.
  2. Dressing — Use a little less bread and add more onions, garlic, celery, and vegetables. Add fruits such as cranberries or apples. Moisten or flavor with low fat low sodium chicken or vegetable broth and applesauce.
  3. Turkey – Enjoy delicious, roasted turkey breast without the skin and save 11 grams of saturated fat per 3 oz serving.
  4. Green Bean Casserole — Cook fresh green beans with chucks of potatoes instead of cream soup. Top with almonds instead of fried onion rings. **2016 edit** I’m sticking with a small portion of the original. Yum!
  5. Mashed Potato — Use skim milk, low-sodium chicken broth, garlic or garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese instead of whole milk and butter.
  6. Quick Holiday Nog — Four bananas, 1-1/2 cups skim milk or soymilk, 1-1/2 cups plain nonfat yogurt, 1/4 teaspoon rum extract, and ground nutmeg. Blend all ingredients except nutmeg. Puree until smooth. Top with nutmeg.
  7. Desserts — Make a crustless pumpkin pie. Substitute two egg whites for each whole egg in baked recipes. Replace heavy cream with evaporated skim milk in cheesecakes and cream pies. Top cakes with fresh fruit, fruit sauce, or a sprinkle of powdered sugar instead of fattening frosting.

While holiday shopping:

  1. Don’t go to the mall hungry.
  2. If you need food, choose a restaurant instead and sit where it’s quieter.  Loud noises make you eat more- so do places with lots of red.
  3. Pack some healthy snacks in your purse.
  4. Track your steps.  You’ll be amazed when you see how much you walk tile shopping.
  5. While standing in line, do calf raises, do some curls with your purchases.  If you feel like you’ll look silly, who cares?  1. You will most likely never see those people again and 2. You may inspire someone else to get fit and healthy!

Share your holiday tips in the comments!



Thanksgiving is over……get back to work!

Turkey, ham, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, squash casserole, broccoli casserole, dinner rolls, crescent rolls, spinach artichoke dip, cracker, chips, banana cream pie, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, cookie brownies and whip cream.  That’s what adorned the table at my mom’s house and much of it came home with us tucked snugly in Tupperware containers.

I’m not sure if it’s a plus or minus that Thanksgiving came at the end of my fitness challenge.  I ate.  A lot.  And it was gooooood!!!!!  Then I ate leftovers.  A lot.  Because they were goooooood!!!  But tomorrow is Monday and a new beginning.  Back to exercising, back to eating healthy and back to getting my family fit and healthy as well.

By the time Christmas rolls around I’ll be well set in my new routine and won’t be splurging like I did for the Thanksgiving holiday.  I’m sure I gained back some of the inches I lost (we’ll find out when I start Phase 2) and some of the weight but it’ll come right back off soon.

Tomorrow morning I’m hitting up JNL Fusion, yes, a week late, and am excited to sweat my ass off!  I like the new thinner, fitter me and want her to stick around.  I don’t much care for Slacker Fattie and she’s no longer welcome in my fit and healthy world.  Skinny Bitch has won the fight once and for all!

‘Tis the season to eat cookies, fa la la la la la la la

Don we now our fat apparel fa la la fa la la la la la

NO!!!!  The holidays are not an excuse to eat whatever we want then make those useless New Year’s resolutions about losing weight.  The best thing to do is to make changes before the holidays begin- think waaaay back to Halloween when you scarf down the candy your kids don’t like.   Do you really want to know how long you’ll have to run, do cardio or even walk to work off that bite-size Snickers bar?

Then we’re hit with Thanksgiving- turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, apple pie, calories, fat, clogged arteries.

A month later we get another round but this time we add cookies, cakes, egg nog, candy canes, chocolate Santas and more! 

A week later it’s time to make empty promises we know we’ll break but write down anyway.  Put down that candy, choose white meat instead of dark, skip the rolls, use a smaller plate and if you HAVE to eat dessert make it a small slice…then go for a walk with your significant other or even the whole family!