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4 Tips on How to Indulge in the Coming Festive Season and Maintain a Healthy Diet – Expert Advice from a Nutritionist and Personal Trainer

healthy Diet

Here we are again in this season where Mariah Carey’s Christmas songs are everywhere!!! I am still not sure if I really love them or am so conditioned to love them…and to top it off, I am humming to one while writing this article as we speak. In this post, I will give you 4 tips to enjoy this holiday season and explain the common scenario I come across when starting to work with a client on their nutrition: they are dreading the Christmas season, trying to avoid social gatherings or dining out because they fear they might gain weight, sabotage their progress, or they go all out during this season and, besides picking up a few kilos, they also pick up some bad habits…like drinking a bit too much. I think we have all been in that situation, even myself when I was younger.

 

Enjoy the Flavors of the Season with a Healthy Diet

 

The holiday season brings a variety of delicious mouth-watering dishes. Prioritizing wholesome, seasonal foods while adhering to your portion sizes1 is the best way to celebrate without derailing your healthy diet. Roasted chestnuts, sweet potato casserole, and cranberry dishes are not only festive but also nutritious. Don’t forget to incorporate fresh vegetables and fruits into your day; they’re not only nutrient-packed but also lower in calories. In between your festive gatherings and outings, I recommend you snack on low-calorie options like yogurt with berries, corn thins with low-fat dairy spread and salmon, and protein shakes with berries and spinach, among others. Keep your protein intake high throughout the day with chicken, beef, tuna, fish, whey protein, cottage cheese, eggs, legumes, and yogurt.

 

Practice Mindful Eating and Make Wise Choices for Your Body-A cornerstone for Healthy Diet

 

The holiday table is often filled with extra delicious calorie-rich dishes. To keep your health and fitness goals in sight, approach these feasts with mindfulness. Take small portions, savor each bite, and engage in meaningful conversations with loved ones to slow down your eating pace. This practice can help prevent overindulgence while relishing the holiday spirit. Remember, indulging in your favorite treats occasionally is perfectly fine. Simply be mindful of portion sizes and savor each bite. There’s no need to deprive yourself; just be selective about when and how much you indulge.

No holiday season is complete without a bit of eating and drinking. Indulge in moderation. Savor that piece of holiday fudge or gingerbread cookie but be mindful of your portions. Plan these treats into your diet, and you won’t feel deprived. Explore healthy substitutions for classic holiday favorites. Instead of heavy cream in your mashed potatoes, consider using Greek yogurt for a lower-calorie option. Before attending a social event, plan to consume lighter meals containing only lean protein sources and non-starchy veggies earlier in the day to accommodate the additional calories. Controlling your portions is the most significant factor in enjoying social events without overindulging.

 

Stay Active and Prioritise Your Healthy Diet

 

Australia is fortunate to experience warm and sunny weather during the Christmas and New Year period. This climate makes it relatively easy for most people to stay active during this time of year. While the cold winter months may discourage outdoor activities in some regions, it’s important to prioritize staying active for the sake of your health and overall well-being. By incorporating and maintaining daily walks, runs, gym classes, personal training sessions, you can maintain your health and wellness throughout the holiday season. There is no need to take a break from good habits simply because you might be on holidays. If you need help with building strength than read one of my previous post-Building strength for women.

 

Be Selective with Alcohol and Your Diet and Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated to achieve a Healthy Diet

 

Alcoholic beverages can be calorie-dense and impair your judgment, leading to poor food choices. If you choose to consume alcohol, do so in moderation. Opt for lighter options like champagne, sparkling wine, light beer, or spirits mixed with calorie-free mixers.2 Consider having a glass of water after each alcoholic drink to slow down and maintain pace. Choose what you want and enjoy it. If you choose to have alcohol during the social event or dinner, then go for it, but then limit the amount of starchy carbohydrates you consume and opt for lean proteins and veggies.

Amidst the holiday hustle and bustle, don’t forget to stay hydrated. Sip on water, herbal teas, or flavored seltzer to keep your energy levels up and prevent mindless snacking. Drinking plenty of water throughout the social gatherings and celebrational events helps control your appetite and prevents confusing thirst with hunger. Adequate hydration can also limit alcohol consumption, which is a common source of unwanted weight gain.3Prioritize adequate rest and managing stress, essential for weight loss and maintaining a balanced diet during this joyful season.

In conclusion, the holiday season is a time of celebration, togetherness, and joy. By making mindful choices, staying active, and indulging sensibly in holiday treats, you can embrace the holiday spirit with open arms, a happy heart, and a healthier you.

Merry Christmas and all the best in the New Year!

By Mirela Simic-Nutritionist and Personal trainer

References

1.     Jia, S. S., Liu, Q., Allman-Farinelli, M., Partridge, S. R., Pratten, A., Yates, L., Stevens, M., & McGill, B. (2022). The Use of Portion Control Plates to Promote Healthy Eating and Diet-Related Outcomes: A Scoping Review. Nutrients14(4), 892. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu14040892

2.     14 best low-calorie alcoholic drinks, according to Dietitians – Prevention. https://www.prevention.com/weight-loss/g23473697/lowest-calorie-alcohol/

3.     7 reasons why you should drink more water. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-of-water