The holiday season is soon approaching and some of you may be wondering how to take a healthier approach to all the treats and eats that may be available (maybe even quite irresistible).
As I am in preparation for a another competition during the holidays for the second year in a row, I want to share some tips with you that help me resist all the goodies and stay on track during this joyful time of year.
Although I am in prep and adhere to a very strict meal plan, I still enjoy a few good food items over Thanksgiving. As a matter of fact, I have turkey and sweet potatoes in my meal plan, regularly. However, even when I am not in prep, I like to adhere to healthier options that fit my lifestyle and align with my values.
If you are looking for a healthier approach to the holiday celebrations, try these tips.
Begin your day in a mindful way. I always meditate as soon as I wake up. Whether it be 5 minutes, or 30 minutes, it has become my morning routine. Once I finish with my morning meditation, I move my body to get the circulation flowing and metabolism going. You can stretch or practice yoga, go on a walk or run, or any other moving meditation that makes you feel good and gets your endorphins flowing. This will help you start your day out with positive thoughts and feelings, and give you the ability to deal with all the excitement that comes with family and friendly gatherings. You will have the ability to also deal with any obstacles in a more calm and thoughtful manner, especially when it comes to food choices.
Drink lots of water. If you have had any interaction with me, you have most likely seen me carrying my 64 oz. Cheetah Print covered Hydro Flask with me everywhere I go. I know, I know... what are the holidays without spirits? Even if you choose to have a cocktail or three, have a glass of water in between. Staying hydrated prevents those pesky signals to the brain that tell you you're hungry, when truly, you're just thirsty.
Hydration is essential for promoting good digestion, transporting nutrients into circulation, encouraging good blood circulation and metabolism, energy, and focus. So, to keep your appetite and strong body in check, bring your jug and drink from it often.
Choose Healthier Options
No, I don't get a "Cheat Meal" on Thanksgiving. I actually eat like it's Thanksgiving every day I am in prep, consuming six meals per day, one or two that includes turkey, sweet potatoes, and green beans. However, my food is void of all the things that probably make your turkey feast taste so delicious. I don't miss it, though... all the processed sugars, gluten, dairy, and such.
When preparing your plate, choose options with lean protein, high-quality fats (nuts and seeds) and complex carbs (rice, sweet potatoes, potatoes) to promote satiation. Also put some of that green stuff on your plate. Veggies are rich in fiber and phytonutrients that will help keep your blood sugar balanced. Carbs are not the problem during the holidays (or any day), it's the quality and quantity. Which brings me to the next tip.
Since I am in prep, my meals are already pre-portioned and consumed every two-and-half to three hours. So, this is an easy task for me. However, if I wasn't in prep, I would use the same method to apply toward my holiday meals. It is a lifestyle for me, not just a means to an end.
How do you want to feel at the end of the meal? Let's be honest, it does not feel good to be miserably full. Before you unzip your pants, let's just accept that you don't have to eat ALL the food in ONE sitting, or even two. Try to stick to 1/2 cup portions of each macronutrient to keep the blood sugar stabilized.
Try using this hand measuring method to help you gauge food portions:
Protein - Palm of hand
Carbs - Hand Cupped
Veggies - Fist Size
Good Fats - 1 Thumb
Check in with yourself throughout your meal. Are you full? If so, stop eating and wait another hour or two before continuing to have another serving. The goal is to feel happy and satisfied. By portioning your food and taking the time to savor the meal can be the difference between food coma and post-dinner family game.
Bringing you back to mindfulness, take the time to appreciate all the hard work that went into preparing such a delightful meal. I mean, after all the time, love, and energy it took to make it, doesn't it deserve to be mindfully enjoyed? It can be a really amazing experience when you take the time to really appreciate the taste and textures of each bite.
Go ahead and indulge. It's OK to enjoy home cooked meals prepared by the hands that love you. Be grateful for the time you get to spend with friends and family, for it is so often taken for granted. We are blessed and there is always something to be thankful for. I wish you the best holiday season. May you be blessed, merry, and healthy.