How to Stay on Track with Your Nutrition During the Holiday Season
Written by Brittany Weiss

​Holidays are known for bringing temptation in all areas of people’s daily lives. Whether it is treats at work, making that annual special dish, or making holiday cookies with your family, getting through the holiday season can be a big diet battle overall. However, your healthy lifestyle doesn’t have to be sabotaged during this season. It is ok to eat the homemade rolls, potatoes and pies. The key is eating each food in moderation. Slow down and savor each scrumptious mouthful with the company of your friends and family. Eating is often a social function as well as a needed sustenance. Let’s relearn our lifelong eating habits and allow our brains some time to catch up with your stomach rumblings. Now, how can we do this?

Set little goals for yourself during these few months. For example; focus on your fluids! Set a goal to focus on increasing your fluids to help with appetite suppression. Bring your favorite sugar-free drink with you to holiday gathering to fight the urge of a sweet tooth.

Avoid skipping meals. Skipping meals can lead to overeating. Eating a small snack an hour or two prior to attending any holiday gathering will help control your appetite, as well as contribute to portion control when it is time to eat!

It can be very easy to get out of your daily routine during the holidays. Make a daily schedule and stick to it! If your daily workout routine was five days a week in September, make sure you stick with that from November through December; no matter how many deserts you ate the night before.

Toss out the leftovers. Leftovers can lead to multiple “overindulged” meals.

Mind your carbs! Typical holiday entrees and desserts are high in carbohydrates. Most of us tend to have a love/hate relationship with starches. Starches include foods like bread, pasta, rice, chips, etc. We love to eat them, but don’t always need excessive amounts of them. When you overeat starches, it tends to break down into sugars which your body then stores as fats. Thus, not a major contributor to weight loss. Here are some easy healthy substitutes for any holiday occasion!

Spaghetti Squash
Preheat oven to 400F. Slice a spaghetti squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place face down on a baking pan with ¼ cup of water. Bake for 30 minutes. After squash has cooled, use a fork and scrape the insides of the squash. This will result in spaghetti like strings. Toss these “noodles” with low-sugar marinara sauce and turkey meatballs!

Zucchini Ribbons
There are several ways you can make zucchini into pasta. Besides purchasing them already zoodled (zucchini + noodle) the easiest method to use is to purchase a spiralizer or mandolin. You can purchase a spiralizer at any major grocery store (see picture below). If you do not want to purchase a spiralizer, you can use a vegetable peeler (peel zucchini into long “ribbons”). After zucchini ribbons have been made, cook in a skillet for 7 minutes using nonstick cooking spray. Top with Mrs. Dash chicken seasoning, parmesan cheese, and grilled chicken.

Cauliflower Rice
Swap the fried rice for a healthier alternative! Cut fresh cauliflower into 3-inch chunks and place into a food processor. Pulsate the cauliflower until it appears rice-like. You can also purchase pre-riced cauliflower in most grocery stores’ fresh and frozen sections. Spray a baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and add cauliflower rice. Bake on 425 degrees for 15 – 20 minutes.

​The holidays are a special time and only come around once a year. Appreciate the time given with your family and your friends. Enjoy all of the yummy foods but, make sure to keep an open eye for serving portions. Listen to your body; eat when you are hungry and stop when you are full! Stay safe and Happy Holidays.