You might be wondering: “How can I eat better at Christmas?” Surviving Christmas on a diet does take some planning, but it doesn’t have to implode your whole holiday season!
The holidays are a time for celebration and indulgence. It’s easy to succumb to temptation, especially when it comes in the form of candy canes and eggnog. I have fond memories of my Grandma’s home cooking, sweet potatoes with brown sugar, mashed potatoes drenched in butter and gravy!
When you’re on a diet, Christmas can be one of the most difficult times of year to stay on track. This blog post will give you 12 tips that will help you survive Christmas on a diet without blowing it!
How can I eat better at Christmas?
Eating better at Christmas means you have to think ahead about choices that you’ll make and how those decisions will affect what happens in the future.
The first thing is to have a plan for your meals and snacks throughout the day so you can enjoy family gatherings without turning them into food-fests. Plan out which celebrations will be healthy, and when it’s ok to indulge on your favourite goodies.
You’ll also want to set healthy goals for what you want to achieve and how much weight you want to lose (or maintain) over the Christmas holiday season. Setting goals will help you stay motivated!
Surviving Christmas on a Diet—12 Healthy Eating Tips
Here are 12 tips to stay successful when you’re surviving Christmas on a diet:
1) Plan ahead
Planning ahead is key. When you know when and where all your holiday celebrations are, it’s easier to plan what you’ll be eating.
For instance, if you know there is a party at work on Thursday night that will involve lots of appetizers, then eat lighter during the day so you’re not overstuffing yourself before going. If you’re going to a family event where Grandma will be pushing food on you, have some pre-planned responses and practice saying them in the mirror before you go.
Being mentally ready for your celebrations can put you in a good state for what comes next.
2) Think of healthy foods you should include
While there are a lot of unhealthy foods at holiday parties, there are also a lot of healthy, nutritious options. For instance, celery and carrots are a good substitute for chips and dips. If you bring these veggies to the party, it will ensure that there are healthy options.
Lean meats and vegetables are always a better option than rich desserts. And don’t forget about the power of fruits. If you are craving something sweet, a fruit can be an excellent replacement for that high-fat dessert!
READ MORE: 20 Healthy Holiday Foods to Eat (coming soon!)
3) Eat plenty of fiber
Fiber is a wonderful choice when you’re surviving Christmas on a diet. It not only helps fill you up, but it’s also a great source of nutrients. And, unlike other foods that you may be eating on your diet, fiber doesn’t have any calories.
Raw vegetables are an excellent choice when it comes to eating plenty of fiber during Christmas time because they can pack in the green goodness without adding too many carbs or fat grams to the meal plan.
4) Focus on protein
Protein is an excellent way to keep you full. Protein is also great for maintaining muscle mass, which is key to keeping calorie burning high all day long. Be limited about the amount of gravy you use, though, or skip the gravy altogether.
Meats have protein, obviously, but there are a lot of surprising sources of protein too. For instance, beans and nuts are both great sources of protein as well!
5) Eat smaller portions
When you want to survive Christmas on a diet, you’ll want to put smaller portions on your plate. This helps because you’ll be less likely to overeat.
Put the food on your plate in a circle and then fill up one-fourth of it with carbs, one-half with protein, and one quarter with vegetables or fruit. And don’t forget a healthy dessert! It’s important not to deprive yourself during Christmas time so pick something that is sensible for you.
Even better, choose a smaller sized plate!
6) Don’t forget to stay hydrated
Drinking water will be key to maintaining a healthy diet during Christmas and the holiday season. It is important to stay hydrated so that your body will be able to function properly.
Staying hydrated also means that you may fill up quicker and eat less. Be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day, including before and during meals. Fill up your glass first thing in the morning, especially when you’ll be going to a party later that day.
And when you have the options to drink soda, eggnog, or alcohol, choose water instead.
18 Ways to Have Healthy Holidays (coming soon)
18 Relieving Tips to Cope with Holiday Stress (coming soon)
7) Watch the salt
Salt is notorious for making food taste better but also making you hold onto water bloat. Try to avoid salty foods and sauces because they’ll keep you feeling bloated all night.
Surviving Christmas on a diet means watching out for foods like chips, dips, and anything with cheese. The extra salt may make you feel like you’ve broken your diet when you actually did well (except the salt).
8) Be mindful about your dessert
What’s a holiday party without dessert? Dessert is delicious, but if you’re trying to lose weight it’s best to go for one that doesn’t have a high calorie count.
For example, a rich chocolate dessert with a nut-based crust and low sugar is one option that will help you eat a small portion but feel like you’re still indulging. Fruit and cream is another low calorie option, or try an avocado mousse!
9) Offer to host
If you’re worried about Aunt Sue’s cooking which usually uses a couple pounds of butter, you might consider offering to host the party instead! This gives you full control of the menu and ensures that there’s no weight loss sabotage.
One way to ensure a healthy meal is by making it yourself! If you’re feeling adventurous in the kitchen, try whipping up some of the recipes here. They’re specifically designed for Arbonne’s 30 Days to Healthy Living, but many are Whole30 approved and paleo for high protein and low carb.
10) Choose mindful alcoholic drinks
Alcohol is another way to accidentally take in empty calories. There are certain alcohols that are better than others for diets. For example, rum, bourbon and cognac have a lower calorie count than red wine or beer, and much lower than sugary cocktails.
Choose the type of alcohol that you’re drinking carefully: it’s all about the numbers! For example, if vodka is your drink of choice, choose diet-friendly mixers to enjoy while celebrating with family without going overboard on calories.
When in doubt? Choose a non-alcoholic drink like water or sparkling cider instead.
11) Have a “Healthy Eating Buddy”
For many people, it’s the social aspect of parties that makes them hard to avoid eating unhealthy food. Just remember: even if you’re an extrovert you can still enjoy a party and maintain your healthy diet!
Do this by finding someone else that wants to be healthy as well. You can pair up and hold each other accountable for staying on the diet. Check in with each other at the party and then give each other a high five when you successfully make it to the end.
Or, if that’s not possible for some reason, have someone back home who can help keep your goals in perspective and encourage you to stay on track! One study found that healthy eating buddies were crucial for successful weight loss maintenance because there was less social pressure at parties.
12) Keep active with friends and family
Counter any extra calories by making plans with friends and family members to exercise and stay active! In addition, moving your body can help you feel better, boost your immune system and lower stress levels.
This is a great way to stay on track for weight loss while also enjoying the holidays! Whether it’s taking walks around town or doing something more rigorous like skiing, be sure to enjoy yourself but still keep active. You deserve it!
Conclusion: Surviving Christmas on a Diet
In summary, surviving Christmas on a diet is all about being mindful and aware of what you’re eating. It’s not just a matter of willpower, it requires an entire lifestyle change to make sure that this holiday season doesn’t derail your weight loss!
Be mindful about your food, and make sure to praise yourself for sticking to your plan when you do succeed. Surviving Christmas on a diet is hard, but with the right attitude and support system it’s easier than ever!