Oh the holidays! Family, food, rest and relaxation, happiness all around! Okay maybe in a dream world, am I right? If you are like me the holidays can actually mean MORE stress. Finding gifts for my loved ones, planning meals, planning entire feasts, thinking of things for everyone to do together, and so forth. With so much to do, the holidays can actually be really tough on us. Not only can the stress alone cause health problems, but around the holidays there also tends to be some really yummy things. Home cooked food - yes please! Stuffing, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, oh my! So, here are my fool proof tricks to getting you through the holidays, without adding on the extra weight and keeping your sanity!
Tip # 1: Avoid Overeating
Only the Turkey Needs to Be Stuffed
Cookies, pies, chips, candy.... around the holidays there is an endless supply of food. At all times! Whenever I go home, there are little munchies all over the house, just waiting for eager fingers to grab and gobble up. And, I know I am not the only one! So follow these simple tricks if you can to prevent from overeating!
Don't leave snacks out. If you can control it, put all of the snacks away. When food is around it triggers our brain to "think" that we are hungry, even when we are not. Also, the more sugar we eat, the more we tend to crave (sugar is addictive after all). So, if the yummy snacks are put away, you are less likely to reach for something that you may not need.
Serve with small appetizer plates. Hey, you can always go back for seconds, right? Big plates, lead to big portions being served. Once food is on your plate, it is really easy to start chatting with your family, and before you know it your plate is empty and your belly is full. So full that you can barely move, and you feel like that turkey you just stuffed. Well, we have ALL been there. So, this year, start small. Serve your food on a small plate. Eat slowly, let your food digest, and enjoy the company of your family and friends. Wait at least 10 minutes after you finish your plate and determine if you are actually still hungry. Most likely that was the right amount of food, and hey, now you have room for dessert!
Tip # 2: Try Healthy Substitutions
There are easy ways to sub out unhealthy ingredients for nutritious ones this holiday. Here are some suggestions that you can use!
Substitute Sugar for Non-Refined Sugars. Instead of white sugar or even cane sugar, try using alternatives that have not been stripped of their natural minerals and nutrients. Some of my favorites are coconut sugar, maple sugar, honey, dates, and molasses! This will help give your sweet treats some good nutrient value without compromising the flavor!
Replace Oil and Butter with Applesauce. This is such an easy substitution, you will wonder why in the world you have never done it before. The sub is 1:1 and it works for most everything! Maybe not pie crusts, as cutting in butter gives it, its flakiness, but for just about every other recipe I can think of, this is an easy and healthy substitution! Make sure that you use unsweetened applesauce though, or make your own.
Tip # 3: Stay Hydrated
Drink More Water
When we are thirsty our minds can actually trigger our bodies into thinking we are hungry. So, a simple way to fight that is to simply stay hydrated! Well, simple is easier said then done! They days can get the best of us, and often times we forget to drink water. Maybe we are chugging down too many mimosas, or we are hard at work in the kitchen cooking up delicious food. Whatever the reason, find ways to stay hydrated.
Buy a 32oz water bottle. Fill it up at the start of the day, mid day try and drink one full bottle, refill and drink another by end of day. This will get you 64oz total for the day!
Download a water drinking app. There are many apps now that help remind you to drink water, and some can even help you calculate how much water you need based on your age, weight, and height. Try out the apps iDrated or Waterlogged.
Tip # 4: Take Time for You
Find Ways to Clear Your Mind & Breath
Okay, this sounds simple right? Yet, the reality of it is, I know you. You will be thinking about all of the things you need to do, second guessing if you have prepared everything, worrying about pleasing everyone. Did I call it? Maybe I did, maybe I didn't. Maybe you have other stressors over the holidays too. The point is, we ALL need time for ourselves, no matter what the reason.
Stress can cause adrenal fatigue, lack of energy, hormone problems, and more. Trust me, its not worth it! So finding time each day to clear your mind, and tell yourself everything is okay is very important. Especially, during the holidays. So find time to do what makes you happy; take 10 minutes to meditate when you wake up, schedule a massage or reflexology and sneak away for an hour, or sit in a bubble bath with a glass of wine. Whatever works for you, just make sure to do it, and to vow to clear your mind and truly relax!
Do this... Every. Single. Day. I promise, you can make time, and you will thank me if you do. Sometimes we just need to take a moment and realize, even in the chaos there is peace. You just have to find yours.