The holidays, oh the holidays. They are, without a doubt, a time for family and good cheer – as well as standing in line at the home-cooked family trough, mindlessly packing on the calories.
Yes, food is associated with the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you have to give in to the annual festival of gluttony. You can eat the ham, turkey, and all the fixings in moderation without sacrificing your waistline. Here are eight holiday-savvy tips to avoid holiday binge eating.
Ways to Avoid Holiday Binge Eating
1) Take a morning run
Even if you have the best intentions, you may overeat during the holidays. That is why you should begin your day with a vigorous workout. Go for a morning jog, a particularly strenuous session at the gym, or a high-intensity interval training workout at home.
Working out is a great way to start the day by getting your body to burn some extra calories before indulging in delicious holiday treats, entrees, and desserts.
2) Avoid skipping breakfast
Missing a meal may make you feel like you’re saving calories, but you’re actually increasing your chances of overeating later to compensate for the loss. Instead, eat a hearty breakfast that’s high in protein and low in carbohydrates.
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3) Provide everyone with healthy finger foods
Bring something healthy to share if you’re attending a holiday gathering. Try a veggie tray with hummus dip, grilled vegetables, dark chocolate-dipped strawberries, or cold steamed shrimp.
When you’re tempted to snack, reach for these healthy alternatives to keep your calorie intake in check.
4) Consume water
Eggnog, spiced rum, hard cider, beer, and champagne should be avoided. While they’re all delicious and guaranteed to get you drunk, they’re also high in sugar and empty calories. Stick to refreshing, calorie-free water.
Bring your own carbonated water and garnish your glass with a wedge of lime or lemon if you’re concerned about what others will think. You can even choose a zero-calorie flavored sparkling water like Bubly or plain sparkling water with fresh raspberries!
According to research, drinking 16 ounces of water 30 minutes before a meal results in fewer calories consumed, which aids in the loss or maintenance of excess weight.
5) Select a smaller plate
Dinner has been prepared! You obviously want to partake in the bounty; you just don’t want to overeat. If possible, choose a smaller plate to serve your food on.
By tricking your mind into believing you ate more than you did, you will fill up much faster than when eating from a large plate. Using a smaller plate will help you avoid overeating by providing smaller portion sizes.
Overeating is exacerbated by a lack of knowledge about portion sizes for each food category. If you don’t know your portion sizes, you’re likely to pile too many carbs on your plate.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how much one serving size is for each food group:
1 cup = 1 serving of vegetables (size of a baseball)
1/2 cup = 1 serving of sliced fruit (size of a tennis ball)
1 protein serving = 3 ounces (size of a deck of cards)
1 carbohydrate serving = 1/2 cup (size of a hockey puck)
1 teaspoon = 1 serving of fats (size of two game dice)
It takes time to learn serving sizes and how to apply them to each meal and how many servings you need per day. To avoid overeating during the holiday season, start planning ahead of time.
6) Make sound decisions
One of the benefits of the food available during the holidays is that there is usually a plethora of options. Play it wisely. Consume as much protein, fresh vegetables, and fruit as you want. Reduce your intake of rice, mashed potatoes, pasta, stuffing, and breads.
Don’t smother everything in gravy. Be just as careful with the desserts. Take a pinch, a sip, or a sliver. Don’t try to fill your plate with a serving of every dessert your aunt, grandmother, sister, and niece baked.
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7) Avoid post-consumption coma
Men typically retire to the living room to openly snore in front of a football game, while women gather around the kitchen table to gossip and pick at food. Break with tradition!
Finish your holiday meal with a fun family walk around the neighborhood. Bring the children to the park. Hello to your neighbors. Set off some fireworks. Get off your rumpus and go burn some calories.
8) Take it slowly
That is, your eating! When food tastes so good, we tend to eat it as quickly as we can. Particularly when it comes to sweets! If you find yourself doing this, try eating more slowly. The longer you eat, the less likely you are to get to dessert and the fewer calories you will consume overall.
According to studies, slow eaters are 42% less likely to be obese than fast eaters.
During the holidays, it is easy to indulge in holiday being eating behavior.. Not only are you trying foods that you might only eat once a year, but you may also feel pressure from family and friends to try every unhealthy dish on the table because it was made with love.
With the simple tips above, you can steer yourself in a healthy eating direction while remaining unnoticed by those around you.
While the holidays can be a swirling vortex of food traps everywhere you turn, we promise you won’t overeat. Your holiday season can be free of weight gain if you follow these simple steps and keep your wits about you.