One of the most delightful times of year can also be the most difficult if your goal is to lose weight, burn fat, and gain lean muscle mass. The holiday season is a time for celebration but all too often, we may find ourselves celebrating a bit too much. Whether you’re over indulging in your favorite seasonal pie or you are thoroughly enjoying the pumpkin spice or gingerbread lattes that only come once a year, it’s quite easy to forget about calories when the cold weather sets in. The last thing you want to do is set yourself back and have to start all over again when January arrives. Be mindful of your choices by following these simple steps when you are out with friends and family.
Baked Over Fried… Always
Unfortunately, fried has become the norm with many of our favorite foods, providing an unnecessary bump in fat-based calories. Typically done with unhealthy oils, frying can pack on more calories than you may want. If you have blood pressure issues, fried foods can also cause complications due to the high sodium content. Play it safe and always opt for the baked versions of your favorite holiday entrees.
Know Your Portion Sizes
Many times, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Instead of stopping when we are satisfied, we often keep eating until the plate is clean. Over sized portions can quickly lead to excess fat storage, spikes in blood sugar, and feelings of fatigue, which then keep us inside instead of on the treadmill. Be sure to measure out your food and politely decline if someone starts filling your plate up. The size of a deck of cards is still the standard measurement for meats and side dishes. You can be more generous with fresh vegetables.
Choose Skinny or Light Versions
There’s a good chance that you find yourself going through the drive thru or standing in the line of your local coffee shop a bit more than you used to all for the holiday drink specials. Those holiday drinks that you are craving pack quite the caloric punch. You’re looking at over 300 calories for a small pumpkin spice latte! 300 calories!That’s as much as you would be getting with a simple, healthy meal. Opt for the skinny version of those flavorful coffee-based beverages. Same goes for if you are out at your favorite pub or bar. Chances are, any cocktail you want, they can make a low calorie version of it.
Substitute When You Can
When cooking for the holidays, get healthy and get creative. You don’t have to go by the book with every recipe you make. Common ingredients you can substitute to make a healthier dish include yogurt for mayonnaise, coconut flour for bleached flour, and mashed cauliflower for mashed potatoes.