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For many, holidays are a time for family, friends and, maybe most importantly, food. Almost every holiday in existence has a dish associated with it, and it’s almost always full of nostalgia and comfort.
Now more than ever, you may want to fall into the comfort that holiday food brings, especially if you can’t be with your family. On top of normal holiday stress, we have distance and other factors to worry about, which can create the perfect storm for wanting to throw your fitness and diet goals right out the window.
You shouldn’t have to worry about being “perfect” during the holidays. Instead, you should be able to focus on how delicious your dinner will be, a beautiful sunset or a video call where you get to reconnect to those important to you.
The best way to enjoy a guilt-free holiday is to focus on the things that bring you joy and make you feel great. Here are a few tips to help you keep achieving your goals without missing out on the fun.
1. Focus on quality, not quantity
We are what we eat, and while eating one cookie or leaving the bun on your burger isn’t going to undo all of your hard work, it’s also not mandatory to settle for the option that falls outside of your normal diet.
And if you want to start adding more whole foods to your routine, you don’t have to sacrifice flavor. Eating whole foods, fiber, and leafy greens doesn’t have to taste “healthy.”
We have some guilt-free holiday recipes that not only taste good, they’ll also get you in the holiday mood without setting you back.
For more healthy, craving-satisfying holiday food, take a look at our collection of low-carb Memorial Day recipes.
2. Get creative with desserts
Desserts are hard to avoid at any time of the year. And they are doubly difficult if you’ve got emotional connections to the treats that you’ve been nibbling on since childhood.
Like with any other food, you have a choice: You let yourself enjoy the treat and deal with the side effects, or you can resist the temptation. Either way, it’s your choice. But don’t feel trapped in an either/or situation.
There are so many healthful dessert options that satisfy the need for sweetness without falling prey to sugar crashes, bloating, and other unpleasant side effects.
Some great options are:
3. Get enough (quality) sleep
Combine that with overeating and alcohol consumption, and you have a situation where a few breaks from your normal routine become an avalanche of consequences.
Getting quality, regular sleep is key to coming out of any holiday feeling renewed rather than ragged.
But sometimes, it’s tough to get enough shut-eye, even when you aren’t dealing with festivities.
These tips will help:
4. Avoid the holiday hangover
Drinking and holidays tend to go together, whether you’re at a gathering or not. But can you tie one on and still avoid a hangover, both literally and figuratively?
It depends. Alcohol can derail your wellness goals, especially if you’re reaching for drinks like sugar-laden cocktails and gluten-heavy beer. (Even if it’s low-carb beer.)
Thankfully, it’s easy to make solid choices when it comes to drinks. Learn more about how alcohol affects your body, and take a look at these guilt-free keto and paleo cocktails:
5. Add supplements to your routine
No, we’re not talking about multivitamins. Certain supplements can help you manage stress, support your immune system, and boost your energy so you have the power to accomplish all you have planned.
Here are our picks:
6. Practice gratitude
It’s important to take a step back, take a deep breath, and remember why holidays are so special for many of us. The people in our lives, our health, and so many other things bring joy to our lives.
It can be a renewing choice to focus on all of the things going right in the moment, and how grateful we are for them. In fact, studies have shown that focusing on gratitude can improve mood and feelings of well-being.
This may manifest as meditation, keeping a gratitude journal, or simply making a point to catch a sunrise with a good cup of coffee.
However you choose to take care of yourself, making sure you have a moment to focus and regroup can be helpful not only for your stress levels, but to remind you why there is a holiday to celebrate in the first place.
7. Be kind to yourself
You don’t need to beat yourself up if you go into the red zone with your diet goals. That said, avoid the temptation to bail on your routine completely.
Some people say to themselves, “Oops, I screwed up, so I may as well go out big” — and that’s how one cupcake turns into a dozen. One out-of-character morning doesn’t have to turn into a “cheat” weekend.
Don’t guilt-trip yourself about straying from your usual choices— just pay attention to how the food made you feel, and load up on the foods that help you perform at your peak.
Your body is yours to fuel and care for as you see fit, and no holiday can change that.
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