The holidays fill our lives with joyous music, shopping, decorating, and food. The flavors and favorites of the season are typical to indulge in, but at what cost? Between sharing the sweets and stress eating, a few extra pounds come on easy, and cause extra work in the future to shed. For those with diabetes, the winter months can be even harder to track sugar levels and regulate insulin. Instead of surrendering to the season’s gorging, put your health first. Outsmart the season’s spoils with a plan, and make this holiday time beneficial for your overall well-being. We are here to help you establish healthy eating habits during the holidays and dash into the New Year shining.
Make a List, and Check it Twice
With the hustle and bustle of the season it is easy to lose track of food intake. One way to help is by starting a health journal. The diary should be a tool to aid in maintaining a positive physical and mental well-being. Use it to record your physical activity, carbohydrate intake, insulin, and blood sugar levels. Many apps on your phone can also be useful for tracking this information more conveniently. There is no reason to view the journal as a punitive or negative, but instead as a positive way to put yourself first during the season of giving.
Get to Dashing
Balance out the holiday foods and stress by making sure to fit in regular workouts. Keep track of these in your health journal to help keep you accountable. Make sure to vary the regiments, mixing cardiovascular workouts and strength exercises.
Potlucks and family dinners are one of the most enjoyable things about the holidays. Although, with a spread of delicious foods, this might be the hardest time to use self-control and keep the sugar levels in check. Instead of writing off the day and giving up on any healthy choices, there is a way to attend holiday dinners and still treat your body well.
Bring Your Own
First, volunteer to bring your own dish to the dinner. Choose a healthy recipe that you enjoy. There are several recipes that take traditional holiday dishes and make healthy alternatives. This can be your go-to food item at the dinner. The host will love that you contributed, and no one needs to know that the food is actually quite healthy.
Have a Game Plan
Tackle the buffet line like a pro with a game plan. Start with the dishes that are most healthy. For example, fill the first plate with a salad, or choose a hot broth soup to get started. This will help you feel fuller before diving into the main course.
Prevent Plump Portions
Portion control is one thing no one wants to hear at a buffet, but it is too important to forget. By starting with a small plate and smaller amounts of each dish, it is easier to pace yourself and make better choices throughout the night.
It is common at holiday gatherings to eat nonstop, and in doing so it is easy to lose track of how much was consumed. Try to focus on each food item as you are eating and enjoy every bite. One easy trick is to take a bite and set down your fork until you have finished chewing and swallowing. Often times as soon as we take a bite we refill our fork with another bit of food; a non-stop flow of food intake.
If there is nothing to do but eat, that is exactly what everyone will want to do. Instead, after enjoying your portioned meal of healthier choices, focus striking up conversation with the other guests or visiting with family, maybe even have a group discussion or game prepared to give you and the group something else to focus on instead of food. Social games are also a great idea to spend time at the table not increasing calories.
We all know the benefit of standing next to the food when chatting with party guests. Grabbing an extra handful of crackers to munch on as you chat is much too easy when you are standing in the right spot. If you feel the need to snack, grab a handful of veggies instead, then stand far away from that tempting table. “Out of sight, out of mind.”
Out and About
There is much to do in the winter wonderland. Shopping, attending holiday events, seeing Christmas lights, and more fill our to-do lists. Where there are holiday events, there is usually holiday foods that also attend. There is no shame in partaking in these treats, but with the right approach, the sweets will not get in the way of your health or holiday tasks.
Eat a complete meal at home to avoid becoming hungry while out and about. It can be too easy to grab fast food or a Christmas cookie to tide you over. Eating a healthy meal or snack at home helps you avoid the whole situation.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
If you have a lot to do, or plan on eating a big meal later, it could be alluring to skip breakfast. However, if you eat a balance breakfast it is less likely to be hungry later and prevents unhealthy choices or overeating.
Choose a Wise Path
Sometimes the sweet holiday smells draw us in, and many companies know this. If the cinnamon roll stand at the mall always gets you, try to avoid the situation by walking a different direction. The same goes with coffee shops and restaurants. It is common to catch up with friends this time of year. If you plan to go out to eat, choose a location with a menu that helps you make healthier choices. Even better, invite your friends over for a get together at your house where you can control what foods are offered.
The Naughty List
Many holiday foods make the “naughty list.” These foods are okay to eat in moderation, but it may be easier to just say “no” altogether. Check out these naughty items below and advice on how to handle them during the holidays.
Pesky Peer Pressure
With social gatherings comes social eating. Many people will attempt to get you to eat unhealthy foods around the holidays. Sometimes the best option is to be straight forward and explain your concerns, especially if you are keeping your sugar levels in check. Honesty is the best policy and it is usually respected by others. However, if you are still concerned about upsetting your friends and family by partaking in their holiday favorites, remember to eat before situations where you know food will be given to you.
Silver Bells and Sugar Spells
Candy companies purposely wrap their products in shiny, bright colored wrappers. They are pretty to gaze at, but use the “look, don’t touch” method with these sweets.
Be Picky with the Punch
Calories that we intake from beverages are practically a waste in your health diary. Often these beverages do not fill you up and they are loaded with sugar and fat. Special coffee drinks, hot coco, and eggnog should be only sampled using your best portion control skills. Another option is to make such recipes at home with a healthy variation of the drink.
Perhaps the hardest holiday beverages to give up are the alcoholic drinks. These fermented liquids are also empty calories. Try to say no, or limit yourself to one drink. By using a skinny glass opposed to a wide, it will feel like you are not sacrificing much. Make sure to eat a healthy meal or snack with your drink to balance out the sugar levels as well.
Keeping healthy snacks with you at all times is a wonderful way to survive any holiday food situation. With Stabilyze nutrition bars and a holiday game plan, you can put your health first this season. Choose a Stabilyze bar for a sweet treat without reaching for the cookies. Stabilyze bars will keep you going for hours, making the holiday season that much more enjoyable.
Stop the unhealthy eating habits before they start and make memories that last your whole healthy lifetime.