With pies, Christmas feasts, turkey dinners, sausage and cheese, and bags of Halloween candy in your future, the holiday season is infamously known as one of the worst times to diet. In fact, many people give up on their diet altogether, resolving to pick it up again as a New Years’ resolution. And who could blame them? It’s hard to maintain a healthy diet when you’re surrounded by roast turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Eating hearty dinners around the holidays isn’t just tradition–at this point, it’s practically an expectation. How can anyone maintain a diet under these circumstances?
What many of us don’t realize is that dieting during the holidays doesn’t mean forcing down celery and cottage cheese while our family indulges in sumptuous meats and stews. With a little planning, you can enjoy delicious holiday meals without breaking your diet–or your budget. Not convinced? Here’s some tips for holiday eating while on a diet.
1. Enjoy in Moderation
For many dieters–first-time dieters especially–we often have the sense that we should cut out everything but fruits, vegetables, and lean meats. Sweets, soft drinks, and carbohydrates are “forbidden”–in our eyes, eating a single piece of cake would wreck our carefully-planned diet. But telling yourself that you’ll never indulge ever again is essentially setting yourself up to fail. The more you resist sweets and fattening foods, the more they become a “forbidden fruit” that becomes increasingly irresistible, until one day you give up and end up overdoing it.
Instead of making “bad foods” out to be the enemy, remind yourself that it’s OK to enjoy these foods in moderation. Have a slice of pumpkin pie or a piece of Halloween candy every now and then. When these foods no longer seem like a forbidden, irresistible treat, you won’t find yourself paralyzed by temptation. You might even find yourself teaching friends and family members how to enjoy holidays while dieting!
2. Swap Out Ingredients with Lighter Substitutes
If you’re doing the cooking this holiday season, why not prepare some lighter dishes that everyone can enjoy? A few subtle ingredient swaps won’t make the food any less delicious–but they will significantly reduce the levels of fat, sugar, or calories. We recommend a variety of all-natural substitutes, including coconut flour, almond flour, pumpkin puree, cocoa powder, and chia seeds. Replace the fats and oils with these lighter substitutes, and you’ll have a dessert that you won’t feel guilty about.
3. Make a Plan–And Stick to It
As you go through the holiday season, it’s best to know what your goals are so you can adequately prepare for all the meals and goodies ahead. Are you trying to reduce your fat and sugar intake? Keep the heavy, fattening dishes to a minimum and enjoy some lighter fare. Want to reduce your carbs? Avoid eating lots of bread and dinner rolls. Watch what you eat before and after the meal–it’s easy to lose track when you’re munching on snacks and hors d’oeuvres. You know what’s best for you, so have your own set of tips for holiday eating while on a diet.
Having trouble sticking to your diet? Be Well 365 offers a variety of personalized resources to teach you how to enjoy holidays while dieting — and much more. Our custom weight loss programs meet you right where you are now, and give you the steps to improve your future. Get in touch with us today to see how we can revolutionize your lifestyle.