The holidays will be very different for most of us this year. What likely won’t change, however, is the holiday food and beverages that come along with the festivities. Herbalife Nutrition recently surveyed 2,000 Americans and found that 61% feel they deserve to indulge this holiday season – more so than in other years – because of the stress of 2020. Additionally, 53% have found themselves making more unhealthy food choices, in an effort to feel better about the fact that the holiday season is so different this year.
While treating yourself is a perfectly normal, and expected, tradition once the holidays roll around, you don’t want to go overboard, because that could lead to unnecessary weight gain as well as added anxiety to an already stressful year and the new year ahead.
Here are some ways to indulge healthfully over the holidays:
A nutritious, balanced snack can help keep you energized between meals and can help you eat less. However, stressful situations can often lead to mindless snacking or stress eating. This is why it’s important to snack before heading out to holiday gatherings, or even carry high-protein snacks with you– hard crunchy foods can also help relieve stress by putting tight jaw muscles to work, so try snacking on a handful of almonds, soy nuts or baby carrots.
Hydration is Just as Important as Eating
Water is essential for nutrient absorption and helps with overall digestion and provides a natural way for your body to detox. Your immune system also relies on a well-hydrated body. Coffee and tea can count towards your daily fluid intake but watch your calories and your caffeine intake.
Pack Your Plate with Protein and Veggies
Many of our holiday dishes can often be high in calories but low in the nutrients and vitamins our bodies need. One way to cut back on carbs and fat, and resist unhealthy eating is to incorporate more protein and veggies into every meal. Protein-rich foods such as meat, poultry, eggs and legumes are filling, and also supply B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, zinc, and magnesium. When it comes to veggies, skip the starchy sides and double up on the greens. It’s an easy way to cut calories, and the extra fiber will help fill you up.
Be Selective with Sweets
Unfortunately, many sweets can have a very high calorie cost, which is counterproductive to maintaining a healthy weight. These treats are inevitable around the holidays, but it’s important to be selective. 43% of the *survey respondents admitted to eating more than one dessert during a meal. This isn’t surprising as we sometimes crave sweets when our energy level is taking a dive, but also, in times of stress, we may turn to sweets as a treat or a reward.
As a healthier dessert alternative, try cooking or baking with fruit, like apples, oranges or peaches; or peel some bananas, wrap them in waxed paper and freeze them. You can slice them and eat them or throw them in a blender.
For more tips from Susan, visit http://www.IAmHerbalifeNutrition.com/.
*Herbalife Nutrition and OnePoll (Writing Off the End of the Year November, 2020)