Steps to a happy and healthy holiday

Though the holidays often lead to unwanted weight gain for the vast majority of Americans, there is a way to enjoy this time of year without putting another notch in your belt.

Here are six tips to help keep you on track with your health and nutrition without feeling deprived.

1. Drink water

Drink water before, during and after your holiday gatherings! Staying hydrated will support your energy and metabolism, and can also help to stave off your cravings for that second piece of pecan pie!

2. Don’t skip meals

If you usually skip meals when you are expecting a large meal later, you may want to reconsider.  By doing this, you are already psychologically setting yourself up to eat more than you should and it could interfere with your blood sugar levels.  If you simply eat healthy balanced meals as you normally would, you will probably eat just the same or even less than if you skipped meals.

3. Divide your plate

Aim for balance in everything you do!  Be able to point out where your protein food is or your whole grain, carbohydrate and fruits and veggies.  Be sure you consume appropriately sized portions of food from each of the main groups. You can maintain more stable energy and mood levels and it may also help in controlling cravings.

4. Don’t deprive yourself

If you want to have a little dessert after dinner, go for it!  Choose something small you will truly enjoy and savor every single bite!  If you deprive yourself for an extended period of time, it will sometimes just increase your chances of an even bigger indulgence later on.

5. Stay active

It’s important to stay active even when the Michigan weather can be a pain. You can use bodyweights and try other workouts while staying warm in the inside of your home. Staying active can help in appetite control, and will allow you to burn more calories throughout the day.

6. Family first

Most importantly, remember that this season is NOT about the great food (although it’s a plus).  We gather first and foremost to reconnect with our loved ones and to feel the warmth of the holidays, not through the stuffing in our bellies, but through the closeness of family and friends!