Triathlon season might have ended, but that doesn’t mean you have to give up your healthy eating habits. Staying fit through the holidays is a challenge, but it is not impossible. Here are a few tricks and tips to help you survive the season of comfort food and sweets
If your holiday meals contain various ways of cooking potatoes, i.e. mashed, scalloped, au gratin, think about replacing your russets for sweet potatoes. The reason why you want to switch from the traditional white potatoes to sweet potatoes is for the differing nutritional content. While they are equal in some aspects, sweet potatoes contain more potassium and fiber, which means your heart will be happy and you will get fuller faster.
Grains Go a Long Way
Grains that are high in nutritional value like quinoa and rice are perfect for meal prepping. During your meal prep day make enough grains to last throughout the week. Add them to the meals you prep, or if you are on the go and need something fast, cook some beans and plate them on top of your chosen grain. All of a sudden you have a tasty nutritional meal with hardly any time involved. They also serve as a healthy side at a big holiday dinner.
If your craving a burger, try a vegetarian or black bean patty. If these alternatives just won’t fill the burger void switch the bun. Instead of eating your burger on a traditional hamburger bun, try swapping the bun for an English muffin. This will save you some calories and unlike making your burger into a wrap, it adds fiber into the meal.
picture courtesy of eatthis.com
The Perfect Holiday Snack
The holidays have temptation lurking around every corner. After Halloween there is always plenty of candy and during the Christmas season peppermint is everywhere. Stave off the cravings by snacking on pumpkin seeds. Avoid the prepackaged roasted ones and go for ones you’ve scooped out of the pumpkin or the packaged ones that have the least additives. All they need is a little oil and salt, and then to be baked in the oven. Pumpkin seeds are a great snack because they are loaded with fiber and potassium, making them not only season friendly, but also extremely nutritious.
If you are preparing festive meals, there are a few simple switches you can make that will cut calories without ditching flavor. Swap the usual milk and butter for almond milk. If you are making potatoes, you can even swap the milk for broth. Use coconut oil to replace olive oil. Try corn bread instead of other dense carbs. Lastly, instead of an overabundance of chocolate or other decadent dessert, try a fruit based dessert.
Come to the Light Side
Turkey is a staple for the holiday meal. Instead of depriving yourself from all holiday foods, take the better part of the turkey. The lighter meat of the turkey is healthier for you than the darker meat portion of the turkey. Don’t skip out on the holiday bird if it’s the centerpiece for you, just be picky on which part of the turkey is on your plate.
For the Pie Lovers
If you’re like me, then pie is non-negotiable. If you’re health conscious this holiday season then it is best to weigh your pie options. Both apple pie and pumpkin pie reign supreme this time of year, but pumpkin pie contains fewer calories then apple pie. Pecan pie is the worst when it comes to nutrition of the typical holiday pies, so unless it can’t be helped, avoid it.
The holidays usually include buffet style amounts of food at parties. If everything at the party looks absolutely delicious then your only option is portion control. Take little amounts of everything, as if you were sampling it, to avoid going overboard.
Don’t deprive yourself of holiday fun in the interest of training, but if you want a fitter holiday meal don’t be afraid to try it out. The holidays are a time of celebration and family, so don’t sweat it if you missed a workout or had a day of splurging.