The end of every year gives us a lot to celebrate with holidays, family gatherings, and ringing in a brand new year. This time of year can be somewhat of a minefield if you’re trying to avoid weight gain or stick to a clean eating lifestyle. But, what if we told you you can be healthy and eat some cake too? Keep reading for tips to have it all the healthy way this season.
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1. Take A Walk After Every Meal
Light movement after a meal won’t won’t exactly undo everything you’ve just consumed, but it can be very useful for your digestion. After every meal, and particularly those heavier meals, moving for at least 15 minutes can help improve circulation and give your metabolism a little boost.
The faster your metabolism moves, the less fat your body will absorb, thus giving your weight goals a major assist. On the other hand, when you eat and lie down right after you might be slowing down your digestion and causing all types of stomach issues, including that uncomfortable feeling of bloat. So, try your best to fight the urge to sit down right after eating and move your body to keep those holiday pounds from creeping up on you.
2. Stick To A Strength Training Routine
Speaking of your metabolism, nothing does a better job at speeding up your metabolism than strength training. The more muscle you have on your body, the more energy your body needs to maintain that muscle, and therefore your body will constantly need to burn energy to support it.
While strength training regularly isn’t an excuse to eat like a maniac, it can help your body burn off some of those unwanted calories from the frequent holiday parties and dinners. At a minimum, try to incorporate two strength-based workouts into your weekly routine to build and maintain fat-burning muscle.
3. Choose Savory Over Sweet When Possible
Sugar is a tiny little thing that makes everything delicious. Unfortunately, the more you consume the more sugar cravings you’ll have. This means that you’ll be creating a dangerous cycle of consuming sweets all through the holiday season, which might not align with your health goals.
The thing to keep in mind with sugar is that even though it’s not fat when you eat it, your body stores excess sugar as fat for later use. So, you might be eating something low in fat but high in sugar, and completely defeating the purpose. So, if you have the choice over the holidays to eat something savory or sweet, always go with the savory option. Typically, you’ll be more satisfied anyway and you can kick your sweet tooth to the curb if you make this a habit.
4. Start A Family 5K Tradition
While we love a great family dinner, there are other ways to enjoy time with the family other than sitting down at the table for big meals. Before (or after) you sit down to eat, create a simple route for a family 5K to encourage your family to walk, jog, or run together.
For the elderly and younger family members, encourage them to walk a distance they are comfortable with. The point is that you all move together. And you’ll be surprised how easy it can be to bond during a walk outside. Not to mention those post-workout endorphins can reduce the drama at the dinner table.
5. New Rule: Always Have A Half Plate Of Veggies
You are going to eat yummy and not-so-healthy things during the holidays and there is nothing wrong with that. The tricky part, however, is watching the other things you put on your plate. Before you put anything on your plate, start with at least a half plate of veggies, like Brussel sprouts, greens, spinach, and other non-starchy-veggies.
After you’ve had your veggies, have whatever you want, but be careful with portions. The key is finding a balance and thinking about putting more “good” food in your body than “bad.”
What are your own tricks for enjoying the holidays without completely losing sight of your health goals? Tell us in the comments!