6 Tips to Guilt-Free Holiday Eating

The holidays tend to be centered on food, and for those of us who are still building a positive relationship with our diet, it can seem challenging.

It’s so easy to lose sight of your weight-loss goals when everyone around you is throwing caution to the wind and overindulging.

But the truth is, you can enjoy a completely satisfying holiday without packing on the pounds.

Here are six simple tips to keep you full and satisfied during the holiday season.

1. Take charge in the kitchen.
If you’re worried about not having anything healthy to eat, take the initiative to bring your own dishes to the table. Wow your dinner guests with healthy alternatives to your favorite holiday classics.

One super-simple way to enjoy a classic dish like mashed potatoes is to switch out half the potatoes for cauliflower and boil them in garlic-infused vegetable broth instead of water. You’ll have a huge punch of flavor and won’t miss those extra calories at all.

When you finally sit down to eat, you’ll be confident knowing every ingredient is nourishing your body. You can dig in for seconds, guilt-free!

2. An apple a day keeps the pounds away.

Apples are full of fiber, so they are very filling and can help prevent cravings. They’re also full of water, which can help increase your metabolism and curb your appetite. Eat an apple 15 to 20 minutes before your party or holiday dinner and you can save hundreds of calories.

3. Be hands-on.

One of the easiest ways to control calories during the holidays is to avoid overeating. And an easy way to measure portion sizes is to use your own hands.

The palm of your hand is about 3 or 4 ounces (a good serving for your meat), your two thumbs together is equal to 1 tablespoon (perfect for high-calorie dressings or dips), two hands cupped together is equal to 1 cup (use for salads), while one hand is a ½ cup (great for those sides).

4. Skip the alcohol.

I know this might not be popular advice, but it’s pretty shocking when you realize how much sugar you’re actually gulping down with that decadent dessert wine or chocolate martini.

Instead, soothe yourself with a hot beverage. Festive holiday or chai teas are great options because they have lots of warming spices like cinnamon and ginger. Add a splash of coconut milk and top with freshly grated nutmeg for an indulgent drink with a flavorful kick.

5. Indulge consciously.

Did you know you’re more likely to binge if you feel like you’re being deprived? So if you just can’t stand the idea of not digging into Grandma’s world-famous pie this year, then go ahead and have a slice. But don’t use this as a free-for-all pass to eat everything in sight. Choose one must-have item and allow yourself to indulge. Let yourself know that you’ve made a conscious choice to eat this treat, whatever it may be, and then truly savor it. Satisfy your craving, and do so without regrets.

6. Slow and steady.

Remember why you’re having this meal of celebration in the first place and really take the time to savor each and every bite. Make a game of it by trying to be the person to finish each course last.

Finally, try to wait 20 minutes between each course. This is the length of time it takes for the brain to get the confirmation from your stomach that you are no longer hungry. This will help save calories, fat and a tummy ache later.

And if you end up overeating, don’t fret. We’ve all been there!

Overeating one day out of the year won’t cause significant weight gain. However, it can start you down a slippery slope.

Get your healthy eating back on track quickly.

An easy way to do this is to avoid the leftovers. (No need to make the same mistake twice!) Package them up and give them to friends or family members to avoid temptation.


Photo credit: Debby Hudson, Unsplash