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Healthy Ways to Prepare for a Holiday MealHealthy Ways to Prepare for a Holiday Meal


Healthy Ways to Prepare for a Holiday Meal

Commit to a morning workout

There is no reason to miss out on holiday meals. Your eating and exercise patterns leading up to a big celebration can allow you to enjoy special foods and drinks without ruining your fitness plan.

Commit to your morning workout.

The calories burned during exercise add up to offset the extra calories you eat. Sticking with your workouts helps control weight gain during the holiday season. Don’t skip workouts on the days you have planned celebrations. Also avoid putting off exercise until later in the day. It’s much too easy for last-minute invitations or errands to steal the time you’d planned to spend at the gym. A morning workout will guarantee you fit it in.

Lighten up for a few days.

Lightening up doesn’t mean skipping meals to prepare for overeating. It does mean making smart food choices that are satisfying and dense in nutrients. Choose more fruits, vegetables and lean protein to get the nutrients you need and to keep you feeling full. Limiting carbohydrates and fat will give you more wiggle room in your eating plan to enjoy favorite holiday foods.

Keep stress to a minimum.

You can’t avoid stress completely, but you can take steps to control how you react to stressful situations. You might be nervous to attend a party or feel overwhelmed with all you have to do. These feelings can lead to overeating. Stress also impacts sleep in a way that can lead to hormonal imbalances, hunger, and cravings. Identify what is stressing you out, and take steps to resolve it. Incorporate stress-relieving activities like meditation and regular exercise.

Set boundaries.

Don’t go to a party or attend a dinner buffet without giving some thought to your game plan. Set rules for yourself and stick to them. Enjoy one cocktail, choose dessert over an appetizer, or skip the dinner rolls and have a small scoop of mashed potatoes. By creating balance with your meal and making trade-offs for those things you want to enjoy, you can stay in control of your calorie intake and weight loss.

Lori Rice, M.S., is a nutritional scientist and author with a passion for healthy cooking, exercise physiology, and food photography.
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