2020 has been a trying year for all of us and it is natural to look forward to holiday festivities especially favorite holiday food items. Temptations are everywhere, and we might want to indulge ourselves more this holiday season as we have to likely celebrate away from many of our families and friends.
How do you stick to your healthy diet plan when all you want is another helping of pie? Here are 5 tips that can help:
1. Holiday-Proof Your Plan
Even if your holiday gathering is only those in your household you are likely going to see other family members eating tempting treats. Meet the challenges armed with a plan:
- Eat close to your usual times to keep your blood sugar steady. If your meal is served later than normal, eat a small snack at your usual mealtime and eat a little less when dinner is served.
- If you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbs (like potatoes and bread) during the meal.
- Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast. It will be harder to manage your blood sugar, and you’ll be really hungry and more likely to overeat.
- If you slip up, get right back to healthy eating with your next meal.
- Have pumpkin pie instead of pecan pie. Even with a dollop of whipped cream, you’ll cut calories and sugar by at least a third.
- Break physical activity up into smaller chunks so it’s easier to schedule, like walking 10 minutes several times a day.
- Schedule some “me” time every day—a nap, dog walk, or hot bath to get your energy back for the next celebration.
2. Outsmart the Buffet
When you face a spread of delicious holiday food, make healthy choices easier:
- Have a small plate of the foods you like best and then move away from the buffet table.
- Start with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite.
- Eat slowly. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full.
- Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food. Alcohol can lower blood sugar and interact with diabetes medicines.
3. Fit in Favorites
No food is on the naughty list. Choose the dishes you really love and can’t get any other time of year. Slow down and savor a small serving, and make sure to count it in your meal plan.
If you plan for it, no food needs to be on the naughty list.
4. Keep Moving
You’ve got a lot on your plate this time of year, and physical activity can get crowded out. But being active is your secret holiday weapon; it can help make up for eating more than usual and reduce stress during this most stressful time of year. Taking a socially distanced walk after a holiday meal can help.
5. Get Your Zzz’s
Going out more and staying out later often means cutting back on sleep. Sleep loss can make it harder to manage your blood sugar, and when you’re sleep deprived you’ll tend to eat more and prefer high-fat, high-sugar food. Aim for 7 to 8 hours per night to guard against mindless eating.
Most of all, remember what the season is about even after such a difficult year—celebrating and connecting with the people you care about, if we can safely in person or by other means. When you focus more on the fun, it’s easier to focus less on the food.