Most dieters would agree: one of the toughest times of year when it comes to sticking to your weight loss and fitness goals is the December holidays – Christmas time! For a full month at least, we’re hit with high-calorie temptation at every turn. The grocery shelves are stocked with a dizzying array of holiday themed goodies – like the red-and-green candy packaging, or the gingerbread spiced and wintry mint versions of our favorite cookies and sweet snacks.
It’s not easy to pass by those scrumptious, ganoshe-drizzled and crumb-topped goodies that beckon enticingly from the coffee shop window. Or how about just wanting to make a beeline into the nearest fast food restaurant after a grueling afternoon of holiday shopping?
No doubt, the holiday season makes it difficult for even the most disciplined of dieters to stay on track with healthy eating. However, instead of completing caving to cravings, we can certainly enjoy ourselves when out and about and faced with fantastic foods everywhere we go.
Here are some tips for how to not completely lose sight of your weight loss plan at Christmas time.
Don’t skip that trip to the grocery store. One of the best ways we can make sure to always have healthy meals and snacks available is by keeping our pantry stocked with healthy choices. Think veggies and fruits, whole-grain crackers, healthy proteins such as nuts, cheese, boiled eggs, tuna, lean lunch meats, and plain yogurt or cottage cheese.
Meal prep in advance. We’re more likely to order out or grab something fattening on the go if we know there’s little to no food in the fridge. Make meals ahead of time, then store in containers in the fridge so family members can heat up a quick meal during at-home pit stops from here to there.
Never shop on an empty stomach. This applies not just to grocery shopping, but also if you’re braving the mall crowds at this busy time of year.
If you’re super busy at this time of year, consider taking a shortcut – like grabbing the already-sliced versions of your favorite snacking veggies. Many grocery stores now offer healthy, made-for-you meals if you really find yourself short on dinner options.
Choose the healthy option at holiday parties. If you’re eating low-carb, then focus on filling your plate with simple, clean fare. Steer clear of those puff pastry appetizers while managing to fill your plate with colorful veggies and some good protein like hummus and a small serving of cheese. If you’re going the low-fat route for your weight loss plan, then you should still avoid the puff pastry. Also steer clear of heavy portions of rich foods that are thick with gravy, cheese, cream and other high-calorie, high-fat ingredients.