Surviving the Holiday Cheat Meal
It's the Holidays!
Maybe you've made some healthy changes heading into the holidays, and you're seeing changes to your body, your energy levels, your cravings, and you're over that dreadful hump that you were feeling in the first few days of making changes. And now here you are...upon the holiday cheat meal. You might be a little nervous, or excited to dive into a feast. Either way, we've got a few things for you to think about as this day starts.
Have a Positive Mindset About Special Days A cheat day doesn’t have to be an over-indulgence day. Enjoy being with family and friends and eating some great food, but listen to your body and how it’s responding. Focus parts of your day on other things in addition to food.
Give Traditions a Makeover Traditions are awesome, and something a lot of us look forward to every year and hope that we can pass on down for generations to come. But traditions could also sometimes use a little makeover. Use some of your nutritional knowledge to give one or two of your holiday meal dishes a little sugar-free makeover. Let’s be real - that sweet potato casserole doesn’t need any added brown sugar to it, those sweet potatoes are exactly that ALREADY, sweet! You’ll feel better, and maybe the change-up will become a tradition for years to come.
Find Balance On Your Plate We all love our turkey, ham, or filet mignon, (Christmas Goose anyone?) but there is always an abundance of side dishes and desserts at holiday meals, and for a lot of us, that’s where the fun is, but also much of the sugar and additional carbs that throw us out of whack...so find balance on your plate! Have a bit of each thing, but build your plate with proteins, veggies, and fats, to help control your insulin response and satisfy your hunger, even if the foods aren't ideal. Then, think about what’s on the menu for the day and then ask yourself, do you really need that second dinner roll or that extra serving of pie? Probably not.
Eat Homemade Over Store Bought If you’re going to dive into some dessert, at least don’t dive into the store-bought brand because your favorite Aunt isn’t a great cook and opted for a Safeway sweet potato pie. If today is really going to be a full blown cheat day, at least have what you’re eating be made from scratch. It tastes significantly better anyway when you’re using fresh ingredients.
Listen To Your Body Don’t head back for seconds right away. Enjoy that first plate. Sit for 20 minutes and give your body a moment to tell you how it’s feeling. You may not even need that second helping. Are you actually still hungry, or are you giving into those cravings? To be honest, you likely won’t like the way it feels anyway. Be in tune!
Get Moving Of course exercising vigorously before the meal can be helpful, but even during the day of the holiday and after the meal, find an activity to do with family, and get everyone playing. Whether it’s a flag football game in the backyard, going for a walk, playing horseshoes, or even a game of spades. Keep yourselves busy and entertained so you’re not bored and dipping into some extra food that you might not actually need.
Good luck and Happy Holidays!!