How to Celebrate the Holidays with a Health Mindset
The influx of comfort foods during the holiday season severely exhausts weight loss patients’ healthy conscience and leads them down a path of poor decision making followed by regret and guilt.
There is a way to have your holiday feast and eat it too, but it requires sufficient planning and a determination to follow-through with efforts. Take note of these simple ways to watch yourself and you won’t have to worry about feeling awkward or missing out on any of the fun.
Allot yourself a specific calorie expenditure
Eat whatever it is that you want, but restrict yourself to a specific caloric expenditure that matches up with your usual intake. By doing this, not only are you forced to keep your calorie count in check, but you will have to take the time to calculate how much of one food or another you are ‘allowed’ to eat, which will likely influence you to stay away from calorie-dense foods and gravitate towards healthier, more filling options as you won’t want to be left hungry.
Play a key role in cooking the meal and sneak in healthy ingredients
If you cook the food yourself, you have full control over what exactly it is that you’re feeding yourself and your guests. Sneak some chopped spinach into your macaroni and reduced-fat cheese, swap your traditional mashed potatoes for mashed cauliflower, limit added butter and oil in recipes, make zucchini lasagna, or what have you. If you have full control, you won’t have to go through as much hassle and stress when making your plate.
Serve yourself without dressings, sauces, etc.
Eat that salad, but leave out the croutons. Munch on turkey, but for the love of all things good, skimp on the gravy. You still get to enjoy all off the traditional dishes and fun items, but without the less-than-worth-it calories from additives.
Use a small plate and consider the color
If your plate is small and you’re measuring in platefuls, you can trick your mind into thinking you have eaten more. Similarly, if you are eating food that is a complete opposite color than that of your plate, (ex. white mashed cauliflower on a navy blue plate) you will trick yourself into thinking that you have eaten more than if you were to have eaten off of a plate the same color of your food, as your brain will not as readily be able to identify how much food you have been served.
Try your best to stay invested in the conversation
As long as you don’t talk with your mouth full, talking during dinner is a great way to distract yourself from the food its self. Plus, doing this encourages you to catch up with others around the dinner table, which is good for everyone.
Use the “one bite” method
The “one bite” method is as such: serve yourself whatever it is that you want, but only allow yourself one bite of it. If you are still hungry after sampling one of everything, grab a bowl and serve yourself with a salad. This way, you’re not missing out on any of your favorite dishes and still conserving calories.
Set the serving station away from the dining table
If the food is in direct reach, you’re more likely to reach for seconds. If it’s not there to tempt you, in theory, you won’t be as prone to grabbing seconds (or thirds). Furthermore, the thought of everyone watching you get up and grab yet another plateful will likely serve as a reason to stay seated and content yourself with what you’ve had.
Watch the Macros
“Macros,” or macronutrients, are the breakdown of the nutrients of the food you are eating. Allow yourself to eat what you want, but make sure you plate is evenly balanced. Commit to eating 50% fruits and vegetables, 25% meats/protein, and 25% unrefined starches.
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