It's our favorite time of year - the holidays. And, with that, comes family, fun, and - most of the time - ALOT of food. How do you strike a balance between enjoying yourself, but not going overboard? Here are some quick tips - pick 1, pick 2, or pick all 5 - your choice!
1) Eat breakfast, no matter how much you plan on eating later in the day. Breakfast is important all year long, but especially important on days where you will be "feasting." It helps us to, for lack of better terms, keep from stuffing our face because we have been waiting to eat. Eating breakfast has also been shown to raise your metabolic rate which helps you burn calories throughout the day, store less fat, etc. Take it one step further and focus on protein for your breakfast option - maybe some eggs, whole grain or whole wheat toast, and a banana would be a good combination of food.
2) Get in a quick workout first thing in the morning. Most of us are already waking up somewhat early to prep food for the big day - why not wake up 15-20 minutes earlier and sneak in a quick run, walk, or even a short strength workout. Search YouTube for workout video inspiration. There are plenty of 10-20 minute videos that can give you an effective workout in a short amount of time. You'll have more energy, you'll feel better, and - again - your metabolism will be humming.
3) Once everything is ready to eat, TAKE YOUR TIME. Enjoy good conversation, make sure you're taking sips of your drink (preferably a low/no calorie beverage like water or unsweetened tea). The longer you take to eat, the less you will end up eating over all which, in turn, saves calories, but doesn't leave you feeling starved either.
4) If you're going to consume more calories than you would on a "normal" day, opt to eat those calories instead of drinking them. Translation: go easy with the alcohol, egg nog, etc. It is better to eat excess calories rather than drink them. At least, when you're eating the calories, you are still having to do work to digest them whereas liquids are VERY easily digested; doesn't take much energy or work to do.
5) Don't rush to the dessert table right after you've finished your main meal. This kind of mirrors tip #3 with the idea of taking your time. Give your body enough time to digest. Once you've done that, you might find that 1) You're not even hungry for dessert, 2) If you are, you will likely eat a smaller piece or not go back for seconds. Thus, you can still "have your cake and eat it too." The best of both worlds.
Basic rule to remember - it is all about balance. Don't feel like you have deprive yourself during these holidays feasts, but also do not use it an excuse to eat anything and everything under the sun. Happy eating all! :)