This weekend officially marks the beginning of Holiday Season, that festive time of year when we eat and drink too much, skip the gym because we are so busy going to parties or getting ready to host friends and family, skimp on sleep, and generally undo all the healthy things we have done for ourselves the previous 11 months of the year! The ironic thing is, maintaining healthy habits during the holidays can actually make the season more enjoyable and fun.
Celebrity nutritionist Kimberly Snyder, whose clients include Hilary Duff and Drew Barrymore, is the author of the book The Beauty Detox Solution. Kim offers some great suggestions to help you stay on track with your health and nutrition plan during the hectic holiday season:
Drink Smart: Don’t start guzzling liquids once you arrive at a party, as drinking too much while eating dilutes digestive enzymes,slows digestion and causes bloating. Instead, fill up on water between meals, so you’re not dehydrated when you sit down at the table, mistaking thirst for hunger and ultimately over-eating. When it comes to alcohol, avoid beer, tequila and rum, which cause sugar imbalances and bloating. If you really want a cocktail, stick to vodka. Wine is fine in moderation as it’s not as hard on the liver as hard alcohol.
Start Raw: Begin each meal with a salad or even a few veggie sticks. Raw food not only contains bulky fiber but also the full spectrum of its own enzymes, which allows it to digest itself, and act as a “cushion” for the other heavier foods that follow. The fiber and water in raw foods will also help keep portion sizes under control.
Slim Pickings: Remember that holiday parties are for spending time with loved ones, not binge eating. Stick to raw greens and non-starchy vegetables (steamed, cooked with little to no oil), which can be consumed without restriction. Nuts should be limited to 1 ounce if you aim to lose weight and 2-3 ounces daily (maximum) as a general recommendation. Limit meat, fish and goat’s cheese to 3 ounces (maximum).
Sweet Swaps: With some easy beauty-boosting modifications, holiday treats can still be delicious. Bake with coconut oil, a beauty fat that won’t oxidize under high baking temperatures and nourishes the thyroid. To sweeten, try a combination of stevia and xylitol instead of refined sugar and almond or coconut milk instead of dairy milk.