Staying on Track During the Holidays

It can be tricky to stay on track during the holidays; there’s always a lot going on with different get-togethers and parties, and that usually means extra food and drinks.  Let’s not forget about the family potlucks or the cookie exchanges that happen.  It’s not impossible to stay on track during the holidays, but it might require a little bit of effort and in the end you might be proud of yourself that you were able to stick to your guns and not over indulge too much.

Here are some tips to keep you on track during the holidays:

  1. Start your day off right: no matter what time of year, I always start my day with lemon water.  I follow that with a balanced breakfast, which for me means a smoothie.  Having a good breakfast will set the tone for the rest of your day.  Check out these recipes for breakfast ideas: Blueberry-Ginger Smoothie, Maple Walnut Granola, Simple Muesli
  2. Remember your water: it’s still important to stay hydrated (maybe even more this time of year).  I have a huge 2.5L water bottle that I fill up and I make sure I get through at least one of them, so that I know I’m hitting about 3L a day (including the water in my smoothie and from other fruits/veg I eat throughout the day).
  3. Stick to your fitness schedule: just because it’s the holidays, doesn’t mean you can totally break from your gym routine.  This is another reason why I like morning workouts, getting them out of the way first thing in the morning means I don’t have to feel guilty about going out for some Christmas cheer after work.  It also means that I know with my workouts and breakfast, I have the foundation started for a great day!  (Plus, they say people who workout in the morning are less likely to indulge in treats throughout the day).

Things to watch out for:

  1. The big dinner: this can be tricky to navigate because everything smells so good.  Make sure you get a good portion of veggies on your plate.  If your dinners are anything like mine, there will be at least four different kinds of veggies, not including mashed potatoes… but let’s talk about those.  Potatoes themselves are healthy, they contain Vitamins C and B6, plus minerals like manganese, phosphorus and niacin… but mashed potatoes are a different story: the skins are removed (along with some of the nutrients) and butter and milk/cream are added.  Not exactly a health-conscious dish, so try to limit to a small spoonful.  This goes for the stuffing too.  Usually I’ll choose either mashed potatoes or stuffing, but rarely I’ll have both.  And when it comes to the actual bird, I stick to mostly white meat… it’s protein after all, right?
  2. The parties: the cocktails, the appetizers, the desserts… they can add up pretty quickly, and if you’re heading to multiple parties a week, well, that can spell trouble for some.  I stick to a two cocktail limit, and then I’ll switch to soda water and lemon.  At the end of the day, though, you’re there to celebrate the season and mingle with friends, so have a good time and try not to think about that tray of chocolate brownies that it being passed around.
  3. The leftovers: if you’re not hosting, the easiest thing is to politely decline when you get offered to take home any leftovers.  If you are hosting (like me this year) be ready with to-go containers and just pass them out as people leave.  LOL!  But in all seriousness, make sure to offer any leftovers.  I’m really good at not buying treats, but if they are in the house I will eat them.
  4. The work gift baskets: at work we get a lot of thank you gifts from our vendors.  The baskets are beautiful but are usually filled with chocolates and other goodies.  The worst part, is that I have to pass by the treat desk a lot (it’s literally on the way to everything: the kitchen, washroom, the way out).  It’s hard to pass up a treat or two, but I try my best.

Something to remember……………..It’s the holiday season, so go easy on yourself.  It’s OK to indulge this time of year, so enjoy that slice of pie or those homemade cookies (that most definitely contain way too much sugar) and drink up!  As the song goes, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.”

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