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Feast Festively without Piling on the Pounds (regifted)

Toronto Holistic Nutritionist Laurie McPhail Healthy Holiday EatingThis post proved so popular last season that I’m re-gifting it, along with some extra tips and an all-new collection of healthy holiday recipes that will expand your festive repertoire, not your waistline. 

Did you know that the average North American gains 7 to 10 pounds during the holidays?  Fear not – you can feast festively without piling on the pounds!

Click here to join The Nutritional Reset community and I will email you Healthy Holiday Eating, a selection of festive recipes which show that you can eat meals that are both healthy and delicious – not only at the holidays but all year round!

Read on for a few healthy eating strategies to make this holiday season your sveltest yet…

  • Rather than “save your calorie budget” for the party (which guarantees you will arrive in starvation mode and scarf back everything in sight), eat properly spaced, healthy meals that have both protein and healthful fat in them to keep your blood sugar regulated and your hunger pangs in check.
  • Make a plan, using the tips below, and “rehearse” ahead of time by visualizing how you will stick to it.  For example, picture yourself at the dessert table selecting small portions of one or two of your favourite holiday treats and passing on the rest.
  • Fill at least half your plate with vegetables and eat them first!  The more colours the better.
  • Eat only what you love!  If you can’t give an emphatic “Oh ya!” when asking yourself “Am I enjoying this?”, then stop eating it.
  • Offer to bring a dish so that there is at least one healthy choice on the table.  Sign up for my newsletter here and I will send you my Healthy Holiday Eating Collection full of festive ideas.
  • Take your time eating and savour every bite A recent article in the The New York Times offered this advice:  “treat your meal like you’re a judge on ‘Chopped’ or any other Food Network show. How’s the presentation? What does it smell like? How’s the texture? Do the flavors go well together? Is the food lacking any flavor? What would you rate this meal if it were presented to you on a cooking show?”  This is an excellent way to eat more mindfully so you get maximum enjoyment out of your food.
  • Be sure to wait 10 minutes after your first helping before heading back for secondsit takes at least that long for your brain to register that you are full.  Stockings, not stomachs, are for stuffing.
  • Enjoy a dessert but not every dessert!  Split one or two with family or friends so you get a sampling of a few holiday favourites and pass on sugary treats that are available at any time of the year.
  • Remember the olden but golden rule…have a glass of water in between every alcoholic beverage.  Alcohol stimulates appetite and diminishes your control over what you eat.  Not to mention your head, as well as your liver, will thank you!
  • Be smart about your alcoholic choices…use sparkling water or low-sugar kombucha (rather than pop) as a mixer, for example.  Local producer Alchemy Pickle Company makes some of my favourites.  Avoid sugar bombs like eggnog and mulled wine.
  • Take a 15 to 20-minute stroll after eating…it aids in digestion and helps your body manage blood sugar.
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself if you go overboard…just get back to healthy eating and lifestyle habits as soon as you can.
  • And another good tip from The New York Times, don’t be afraid to say “no” to certain things.  If you’d really rather be somewhere (anywhere) else than the party you’ve been invited to, then honour that and choose what is best for you, be that a quiet night with a book, a yoga class, or just an early bed time.
  • Finally, one last tip.  Why wait until the holidays to start putting these tips into practice?  Start now and consider it a trial run for your New Year’s resolution.  Start right now, making even small changes here and there.  Think of it as your gift to yourself.  Practice is the secret to making healthy habits stick.  If you start now, you’ll have healthy eating in the (gift) bag by January!

Want some healthy recipes on hand for hosting your next holiday party? 

Click here to join The Nutritional Reset community and I will email you Healthy Holiday Eating, a selection of holiday recipes which show that you can eat meals that are both healthy and delicious – and not only at the holidays but all year round!  Any of your favourite recipes can be adapted to make them more nutritious.  Learn more or call me to find out how The Nutritional Reset can restore your energy and enthusiasm for life!

I wish you the happiest & healthiest of holidays and an energetic start to 2020!

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