Stay Healthy Over The Holidays

Photo by Carodean Road Designs on Flickr. Used under a Creative Commons attribution license.

Need help with your diet, but don’t know where to start? Have a consult with one of our Registered Nutritionists and you’ll be on your way! 

If you’ve recently decided to make improvements to your diet, good for you! Or if you’ve been at it for a while, congrats on all of the progress you’ve already made! It’s not easy to change deeply ingrained habits, especially around things we are confronted with every day, like food. And it’s especially tough to do with the holidays – and their attendant feasts, parties and sugary, fatty foods – approaching quickly.

First, you need to give yourself credit for the deciding to eat healthier – resolving to change is a great first step. Initially it may feel like hard work to keep it up, but soon all of these things will become just another part of your lifestyle. Sticking to your nutritional plan is a great way to help you feel better physically, keep you on track with your fitness and weight loss 1goals, and also to improve your self- esteem.

To help you stay on track, we’re put together some helpful tips for how to stay on track with your healthy diet.

1) Keep a food and activity diary.

Try writing down everything you eat or drink and the time you consumed it, and all activities (exercise and non-exercise) for a period of two weeks. Writing what you eat will also help you be more conscious of what you are choosing to put into your body. It will also help you see if you are getting enough of each food group, so you can adjust your meals accordingly. This will also help you keep track of the “little” things that add up over the holidays, like hors d’ouevres and glasses of bubbly.

This is a useful exercise to check in and see how you are doing with your healthy eating goals. There are some printable templates for food diaries here.

2) Cook at home more, eat out less.

Home cooking is a great way to stay on track with healthy eating. Frequently eating at restaurants means you have little control over ingredients. When you cook for yourself you have complete control over the ingredients you are choosing to eat.

Plan your meals a week ahead of time and you will be less stressed about what you are going to eat. Going to the grocery store with a list in hand reduces impulse buying.

We know that the holidays often involve parties and events outside the home, but this just makes it more important to make your own food where possible. You might even choose to host your own event this year, with healthier food for everyone! You can use websites like Yummly or Punchfork, which are great tools to help you find new recipes. Both sites are great because they aggregate recipes from all over the Internet and they are searchable by ingredient, diet type, and to exclude common allergens from the results.

3) Prepare snacks ahead of time, especially if you’re traveling.

Many of us travel to visit family or friends over the holidays, and we all know the feeling of grabbing fast food or a bag of chocolate raisins at the airport because there aren’t any healthy options!

Make sure you always have snacks with you; this will help reduce the temptation to eat junk. An easy way to do this is by making purse-sized snack packs (either in small bags or Tupperware containers). Take your snack with you anytime you’ll be out of your house for more than a few hours. If you’re a parent of a young child, this will be familiar to you: do it for your own snacks as well as for your child!

Some ideas for what to carry with you include: nuts or dried fruit, homemade or store-bought energy bars (like Taste of Nature or Clif bars), and cut up vegetable sticks. Bulk food stores are great for dried items and nuts. You can also easily pack fresh fruit or a small salad or sandwich to take with you.

4) Don’t let yourself feel deprived!

When you are transitioning to healthier eating, it’s easy to get into a mindset of deprivation. Instead, focus on what you can still eat and choose healthier alternatives for foods you love.

If you were to list out all the foods you can still eat, certainly it would probably be much longer than the ones that you can’t. There are lots of great healthier alternatives to favourite comfort foods.

For example, did you know that avocado blended with cocoa powder 7 makes a delicious and creamy chocolate pudding? Or, if you throw a frozen banana in your food processor, it ends up tasting just like soft serve ice cream.

That being said, if you’re eating healthier choices 95% of the time, you can still have the occasional piece of birthday cake. On that note…

5) If you do “fall off the wagon”, don’t beat yourself up.

We’re human, temptations happen and sometimes there are no other alternatives available. Just get right back on track. Don’t make excuses or say that you’ll start tomorrow, or the day after that. Simply resolve to stick to your plan and get right back on track.

Don’t forget, if you need help with your diet or working towards healthier eating choices, you can always book a consultation with one of our Registered Nutritionists.

How do you stay on track with your diet? Do you have any tips or tricks? Leave your suggestions in the comments below.