No-one can deny that this is the time of year we all go a little overboard, food-wise. There doesn't seem to be any escaping all the treats on offer and even the most health conscious of us can be tempted. Visit friends and you'll invariably be handed a mince pie with your cup of tea, go to the supermarket to do your weekly grocery shop and you're bombarded with '2 for 1' offers on cakes, sweets and biscuits, attend a party and you'll probably end up eating your body weight in mini pretzels. And you can't even escape the sugary goodness at work, with people bringing in huge boxes of Quality Street and Celebrations to share with everyone in the office.
You might feel like the healthy lifestyle that you've worked hard all year to maintain goes out the window in December. But never fear, it is possible to stay healthy during this relatively unhealthy period. Here are a few tips:
1. Make your own healthy treats. Party food doesn't have to be full of sugar and calories. If you're hosting a get-together, make at least one healthy option for people to try. It could be as simple as vegetable sticks with houmous. If you're a good cook or the creative type, there are plenty of recipes out there to make healthy versions of people's favourite treat foods. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration for this kind of thing.
If you're invited somewhere you know will only be serving junk food, eat a bowl of salad and drink a glass of water to fill yourself up before the event. This will help to prevent you overeating while you're there.
2. Make your own healthy drinks. You don't have to stick to water all night to stay healthy (unless you want to). Blending fruit such as raspberries and adding sparkling water and a sprig of mint makes a delicious mocktail at a fraction of the calories and sugar of one you would buy.
3. Eat mindfully. Do you really want that extra slice of cake or are you just eating it because it's there? Don't pile your plate high with everything on offer and eat until you feel sick. Pick a few things you really want, and enjoy them.
4. Learn to say no. If you've decided you don't really want that cake, but someone is waving it under your nose trying to get you to eat it, don't feel bad about refusing. It's your body and you are in control of what you put into it. Don't let peer pressure or fear of what other people think make you do anything you don't want to. People who make comments about other people's healthy ways or try to sabotage them generally feel bad about their own not-so-great eating habits.
5. Remember to keep active. It's important to stay fit and not to let the fact that you might be eating less than perfectly derail your exercise routine. Go to the gym as often as you usually do. Stay committed to your goals. And don't beat yourself up if you do miss a session; you're only human and it's really not the end of the world. Any exercise you can do is better than none at all.
And remember: if you do put on a couple of pounds this season, don't worry! Eat healthily most of the time and don't feel guilty for treating yourself. There's always January to get back on the wagon.
Do you have any tips or tricks to stay healthy during the holiday season? Leave them in the comments!
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