The holidays are upon us, which means other than pumpkin spice and egg nog, the other thought that’s top of mind for most people is staying healthy during the holidays.
Holiday weight gain is real and it starts in October lasting through January. The average person gains anywhere from 3 – 7 pounds during those months. This is primarily due to all of the additional celebrations, parties, gatherings, stress of family visits, and cooking.
It starts with Halloween, rolls right into Friendsgiving, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years. Overall most people are operating outside of their normal routines which leads to extra snacking, not choosing the best foods, and let’s not forget all of the fun holiday cocktails.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the holiday season and spending time with my family. I also love indulging in all of my favorite foods (I haven’t met a mac n cheese I could say no to). What I don’t love is the usual side effects that come from eating outside of my norm. Bloating, gassiness, heartburn, and sluggishness just to name a few. I promise there is a way to navigate holiday weight gain where you can enjoy your favorite meals and foods and still stay the course towards your goals.
This may come as a shocker but let me put some stats out there around a typical Thanksgiving or Christmas Meal and how the calories stack up:
TYPICAL THANKSGIVING & CHRISTMAS MEAL CALORIES
Many consume 4500 calories on Thanksgiving Day
- Typical dinner is 3000 calories
- Additional nibbling leads to another 1500 calories
- Equates to 229 grams of fat = 3 sticks of butter
- Does not include alcohol
- 4oz glass of white wine = 100 calories
- Egg nog = 344 calories & 19 grams of fat
Whew, I know that’s a lot to digest but now that we understand how these meals stack up, let me give you some tips you can use to stay healthy during the holidays and reduce stress around holiday planning especially with all of the social gatherings.
- Don’t go hungry, eat a light snack 30 – 45 minutes prior to
- Survey buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favorite foods and only eat those
- Use hors d’oeuvres to your advantage. Fill up on those healthier proteins like cocktail shrimp, meatballs, chicken wings
- Plan your indulgences
- Bring your own healthy dish to the gathering
- Be aware of alcohol consumption
TIPS FOR NAVIGATING HOLIDAY WEIGHT GAIN
- Get moving! Go for a light walk or run the morning of
- Plan family events around a physical activity. Ru/walk a 5k or sign up for one of the many fall activities the entire family join
- Be realistic and don’t try to lose weight during this time. Focus more on maintaining your current weight
- Eat until you’re satisfied. Remember it takes your stomach up to 20 minutes to cue your brain that you’re full
- Don’t cut back on regular eating the day before, during or after the holiday to compensate. Enjoy your indulgences and then get right back to your healthy lifestyle
- Practice portion control! Be mindful of portions but don’t deprive yourself
HANDLING STRESS FROM HOLIDAY PLANNING
Don’t let stress get the best of you during the holidays. The goal is to be able to enjoy your family and friends. Try these 3 D’s for managing holiday planning.
- Dedicate 30 minutes of time the week before your holiday gathering to meal plan
- Determine what dish(es) you plan to make, ingredients needed, and decide what day you will grocery shop
- Delegate a dish or two to a family member for them to tackle and bring to the gathering so you aren’t solely responsible for all of the cooking. Most times family members feel honored to bring a dish and help out!
Ultimately when it comes to the holidays the most important thing is to remember to ENJOY your time! It’s been almost two years since we’ve been able to gather with family and friends so reconnecting with them is what is most important. Don’t stress, have fun and focus on the bigger goal.
If you’re looking for some new recipes to incorporate into your next holiday gathering, try a few of these from my foodie friends: pumpkin spice, apple pear fritters, peach prosciutto crostini, baked spinach and shrimp dip. Or you can try a few of my own recipes: overnight pumpkin french toast casserole, protein banana walnut muffins, low carb chicken and waffles.
Feel free to leave me comments down below on how you navigate the holidays and stay healthy during the holidays. What are your top tips to share?