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Simple tips to help you stay on the right side of healthy this festive season
Another holiday season of chocolate-covered temptations is here, but instead of fearing for your waistline, go ahead and treat yourself to some tasty treats. As long as you follow these tips for navigating the rich and sugary weeks ahead, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how easy it can be to stay healthy and trim.
Just one cookie or small cup of eggnog a day over the holidays can lead to five extra pounds come the new year. The flip side is that it also takes next to nothing to burn 200 calories a day — stand up while working instead of sitting, tap your foot while talking on the phone or walk around the block before heading in for the rest of the day.
A single glass of bubbly has less than 100 calories. Opt for this low-cal treat instead of eggnog or mulled wine. You’ll look festive in every photo, and the smaller glass means you’ll sip it more slowly and the bubbles will help fill you up.
Fill up your plate with healthy or low-calorie snacks like popcorn, pretzels, veggies or fruit. Everybody snacks during the holidays; it’s a mandatory part of socializing. So instead of reaching for the fudge, chips and cookies that someone has put out in front you, reach for the snacks you’ve chosen for yourself.
Eating every three or four hours will keep you from binging. The worst thing you can do is show up for a party or dinner starving, because your brain is telling you to inhale simple carbs to fuel to the body. Give your self-control a fighting chance and grab a healthy snack before heading out.
Be realistic with your exercise goals and keep them specific. Your best bet is to simply add a couple of extra steps into your daily routine. For example, take a flight of stairs for each cookie you eat, or walk around the block for every extra scoop of mashed potatoes.
At parties, grab the side plate (not the dinner plate) and then load up on the healthy foods first. With a plate full of salad, fruit and sushi, you’ll have less room for rich treats.
Wait 20 minutes before reaching for seconds. Your stomach needs this time to digest enough food and signal to your brain that you’re actually full. Use this time to chat, grab some water or walk around the room. By the time you come back to the food, you might be surprised to find you don’t want seconds after all.
Tip: you can speed up this process by drinking water before a meal.
Even if you’re not used to keeping a food diary, a simple list of your daily treats might be enough to keep you accountable. Seeing “six cookies, three slices of fruitcake, four squares of fudge, one cup of eggnog” written down for just one day might be enough to deter you from overindulging any time soon.
When you’re hit with a massive craving, the best thing is to indulge — but responsibly. This recipe hits all the right notes: salty, sweet, gooey and crunchy. And by starting off with a prepared cookie base, you don’t have to worry about controlling portion size. Unwrap, assemble, enjoy!
1 Fibre 1TM Delights 90 Calorie Chocolate Chip Cookie Bar
1 Tbsp (15 ml) dark chocolate chips
2 tsp (10 ml) chopped pecans
1/8 tsp (0.5 ml) coarse sea salt
There you have it! These nine tips will help you navigate the holiday treat train responsibly, while still enjoying the occasional indulgence. Now there’s something you can cheers your champagne flute to!