Now that Halloween is behind us, we’re officially in the midst of the holiday season. Turkey tabletop decorations and wintery garlands are starting to make their appearance, and you might find that in the next several weeks, some additional pounds can be making an appearance as well.
Now don’t get us wrong, we love the seasonal treats and festive get-togethers as much as anyone else, but we know that healthcare work settings in particular are notorious for hosting the most potlucks, parties and always have goodies being brought in by thankful patients and customers.
So, with that said, here’s some of our go-to healthy holiday tips for keeping the indulgences in check during the season so that you’re left feeling energized instead of regretful, and not stuffed to the brim come New Year’s.
1.) Take Smaller Helpings
The excitement takes over, you see your absolute-all-time-favorite dish, you proceed to take heaping scoop after heaping scoop until you have a small-scale version of Mount Everest on your plate.
Some might say it’s a classic case of your eyes being bigger than your stomach, but we both know that we’re totally capable of finishing that mountainous helping.
So, rather than taking big spoonfuls of all your favorite dishes, take little helpings of the main things you want, and then let your largest helping be something that’s healthier, like a veggie or lean protein. This will ensure that you’re not overeating, and that you still feel satisfied after only a slight indulgence.
2.) Don’t Graze
The worst part about office potlucks is that the entire spread is sitting out for you to enjoy whenever you have a free minute.
But what happens when you have a free minute at 11 a.m., and then you go take your lunch at 1 p.m., and then you take a 5-minute afternoon break at 3:30 p.m.? That’s a few opportunities to make your way to the food table and pick and graze here and there. It may seem harmless, but grazing like that adds up to a lot of added calories for the day.
There’s really not much you can do here but to exhibit self-control, but don’t take that as a cue to deprive yourself, go ahead and get the goods from the potluck table, just limit yourself to one trip and be conservative with the portions of the indulgent savory dishes and the desserts.
3.) Drink Tons of Water
Not just a tip for the holiday season, but worth mentioning…drink your water!
Not only will drinking tons of water help to flush out your system of things your body is retaining, like all the salt that accompanies our favorite holiday dishes (turkey brine, anyone?), but it’ll also keep you feeling full so you’re never looking at the holiday spread while you’re famished.
4.) Lighten Up the Offerings
Of course, you can’t control what kind of dishes make their way to a work potluck, but nothing says you can choose to make a dish that leans on the healthier side. If you know there’s going to be a ton of sugar-laden veggies like glazed carrots and sweet potato casserole, create a fall-inspired salad that’s filled with leafy greens, or whip up a side with butternut squash, which is a great source of fiber.
When it comes to your own family’s meal or holiday get-togethers, suggest that half of the spread have some healthier options and the rest can be the indulgences we all long for during the holiday season. This will ensure you can keep the majority of your plate healthy instead of everything on the table being a big salt, butter, and sugar fest.
5.) Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Listen, it’s the holidays, it’s the time of year we gather with family and friends that we may not get to see as often as we like, it’s a time when we get to pass down family recipes to our little ones, it’s a season where we get to reminisce and recreate our favorite holiday confections.
Basically, there’s a lot of happiness that surrounds this season, there’s no reason to diminish it because you’re beating yourself up over having one (or four) too many cookies. If you happen to overindulge that just means it’s time to check yourself and either pass over the cookies the next time or take a couple and package the rest up, or put them out of sight.
And if at the end of the holiday season you realize you still overindulged, no worries, once the holidays pass make an effort to get moving a little more and fill up on healthy foods, you’ll be feeling better before you know it.