Don't get us wrong--there's nothing more that we love than loading up our plates at holiday dinners. It is incredibly hard to have willpower and mental strength when a buffet of food (topped off with ice cream) is staring at you in the face.
If you're in weight-loss mode, good news; it IS possible to eat healthy around the holidays, and we're going to give you tips on how to do so. From experience, we know that eating whatever you want around the holidays can be a slippery slope---you stuff your face thinking it's a one day thing, and before you know it you're eating McRibs (they're back) on a Monday night & are way off course from hitting your weight loss goals.
Eating Healthy at Holiday Meals
Holiday meals tend to be gluttonous in their nature, and will consist of very tempting foods. Here's some tips we recommend that can help keep you on track to hit your weight loss & nutrition goals:
1. Have a Plan
We know this sounds silly, but take this step seriously! Having a plan gives you the mental (and maybe emotional!) fortitude to be able to show up at Aunt Mary's house and know exactly what you can and can't eat.
Using the Oatsy app, you can pre-program what your meal might look like. Using our macro calculator, you can see your fats, carbs, and proteins that will be consumed during your meal. Don't forget, you are human! You can eat something that's not technically "healthy", as long as it fits into your macros. If you know that you plan on indulging in the brownie sundae, maybe go light on the potatoes & stuffing to account for your carb macro allotment.
*Pro tip: If you are in fact going to a party as opposed to hosting, bring along a dish or two with you that you know you can eat. This way, you look like a great guest and holiday-proof your meal.
2. Try Intermittent Fasting
If you're not familiar, Intermittent Fasting is a fancy term for taking a break from eating for a specified amount of time. For the holidays, it could be worth trying out to manage your overall caloric intake on a daily basis.
For those days when you know big meals are in store, try out the 16:8 intermittent fasting strategy. This means you'll eat for 8 hours a day, and then fast for 16 hours. In practice for the holidays, this might look like eating from 12pm-8pm, and then fasting outside of that window. You can play around with the actual times in which you fast & eat, but 16:8 is a solid holiday strategy, especially if you have never done intermittent fasting before.
It would most likely mean skipping breakfast for those that typically do eat it, but you open yourself up to eat more at those big family meals!
3. Load Up on Veggies
As a seasoned Thanksgiving veteran, I know how easy it can be to fill up a plate or two with turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, mac n' cheese, and the rest of the works. Sadly, this is an easy way to go wayyyy over your daily calorie intake needed for your weight loss goals, and also way over your daily macros.
Instead, try filling up half your plate with vegetables. We know you might not have the sexiest plate at the dinner table, but veggies will fill you up and are very healthy. Plus, eating more veggies allows you to have "naughty" foods that would otherwise push you over your daily calories. This gives you the best of both worlds; healthy and fun foods that won't leave you feeling guilty.
4. Avoid Consuming Alcohol
For some, this is MUCH easier said than done. The holidays is typically when you get to see family and friends and let loose a little bit.
We're not saying don't drink at all, because that's a bit too inflexible, even if you are trying to eat well and hit your goals. You can have some drinks, just attempt to stick to ones that won't drive you too far off course:
-Clear liquor (tequila, vodka, rum, gin) on the rocks. Crazy, I know, but a healthier option. Martinis could work here.
-If you do need to mix, try seltzer or water.
-Low calorie beers. As long as you're not drinking a lot of these you'll keep carbs and calories down.
-Sugary drinks. These are high in calories, carbs, and sugars.
-Heavy beers like IPAs. Again, high calories and heavy carbs.
-Mixed drinks. Clear liquor is great, but mixing with soda is no good.
The Wrap Up
We didn't say it'll be easy, but it will be worth it! It's important to remember, as we said earlier, you are human and the holidays only come around once a year. That being said, you do not need to starve yourself or skip out on your favorites in order to stay on track to hit your weight loss goals! Take our tips above and apply them and you'll be good to go.