Holiday Nutrition - Stay on Track

The holiday season can be a rough time to keep on track for performance nutrition goals, and your waist line. There’s treats galore at every corner, large family meals planned, and extra time off that turns into mindless snacking. With a little helpful mindset, keeping on track isn’t as hard as it may seem.

Don’t fall off the track.

Thanksgiving and the holidays are really only one day. One day or one large meal is not what is going to derail you. What derails you is when you fall off the wagon a little bit more every day. It starts with a large meal, and then daily leftovers which turn into daily treating and a new bad habit. When you have the holiday, have a great day. Enjoy it. Have a slice of pie, but the next day, don’t go back for extras. Stick to the one treat a week rule, saving it for the special occasion.

Find healthy meal options.

There are plenty of healthy items to keep your diet a little more on track during the big meals. Try to stick to filling your plate half with a vegetable dish, a quarter lean meat, and a quarter starch or carbohydrate. You will be surprised of how easy it is to enjoy the holiday foods, just sticking to the right portions. Make sure dessert doesn’t become larger than the meal. Pick your two favorite desserts, and only have a half piece of each. Avoid going back for more.

Do something active on the holiday.

To avoid the after-dessert-second-helpings, consider going on a walk, or help clean up dishes. Get your mind out of eat mode and switch to a do something mode. At some point during the holiday, you can still find 30 minutes to do something active. Throw a frisbee with some family or go on a whole family walk in the morning.

Avoid the mindless snacking.

Extra time is great. Down time is great for relaxing and resetting, as well as quality family time. Utilize this time for social actions. Keep conscious of any mindless eating that goes on at these times. If you plan on watching a movie, bring one serving of your snack with you, not the whole bag or container. Consider using vegetables as a great snacking idea. Carrot sticks, cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes and celery sticks are great for munching and easy to come by.

Enjoy the holiday. 

If you stick to these guidelines you will be able to enjoy your time with family and friends (without any guilt) and then get back to work the next day. 

Article Contributed by Carla Rae Nowicki, MS, RD, CSSD, CSCS  Pursuit Nutrition