When was the last time you exercised, ate well, and lost weight over the holidays? It’s a tall order, and one that many simply write off as the holiday season is designed for indulging, entertaining, and relaxing! The downside: Once the month-long celebration passes, you can end up feeling sluggish and heavier than ever. Well fear not! With these simple makeovers you can enjoy the holidays while keeping your health in check.
You’ll be surprised how little things add to your daily sugar and calorie intake. Consider the typical holiday drink—a cocktail. Everyone has his or her own signature cocktail recipe. You never know what you’ll be handed at the Christmas party, but an average cocktail easily packs 200 calories. After a few, your blood sugar can skyrocket! Instead, bring along a healthier option, such as freshly squeezed pomegranate juice with seltzer water. This rich combo tastes great and clocks in at about 100 calories. Give your own holiday party a festive pop of color by making a quick round of freshly squeezed seasonal juices and mixing them with the fizzy water of your choice.
Tip: If you do want to imbibe, drink one glass of water for every cocktail consumed. The following morning, flush your system with an alkalizing green smoothie made with kale, cucumber, lemon, apple, and filtered water.
If you have a sweet tooth, and are trying to stay on track health-wise, the holidays can be torture—there is simply too much temptation lying around in the form of cakes and pies! Forgo “low-fat” offerings and opt for desserts that feature fresh fruit and good organic fat. Use bran and oat flour in lieu of white flour in your baked goods. Use walnuts and freshly cut fruit and berries to top pies, and make pudding with avocado instead milk. Coconut cream is an excellent alternative to heavy cream when you need a delicious whipped topping.
Tip: Everything in moderation! If you’re mindful of what you’re eating, savoring every bite, and really honing in on the flavors, you’re less likely to want to take that second or third piece of pie.
The holidays and decadent meals go hand in hand. But here’s a simple tip so you don’t feel sluggish and bloated after dinner: Fill your plate with more vegetables and keep meat to a minimum; load up on salad and ignore the rolls. Try cooking your meals in organic oils—add a tablespoon of olive or coconut oil to the finely grilled steak or roast for added flavor and a dose of healthy fat. If you crave starch, opt for mashed sweet potatoes, which are high in antioxidants, and cut your portion size in half.
Tip: Eat a healthy meal of quinoa with steamed kale, broccoli, beets, and tofu topped with a simple tahini dressing before you head out to your evening festivities. Your full belly will prevent you from wanting to overindulge.
Remember, the holidays are all about spending time with loved ones and friends, attending parties, and eating out. Don’t make yourself crazy trying to remain super healthy; instead, do your best and if you overindulge, know that you can always start fresh tomorrow!
The Food Network’s Healthy Holiday Recipes