The holidays are a time for friends, family, and yes, lots of good food! But just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you have to say good-bye to your goals and all the progress you’ve made so far this year.
Wherever you are in your nutrition and fitness journey, you can easily make a plan heading into your fun holiday events that will help you stay on track without feeling like you’re missing out.
Creating some structure and planning ahead can help you have the freedom to fully enjoy your holiday time with your loved ones and avoid putting your progress on hold.
I strongly encourage you to hold yourself accountable over these next 2 months and lean into your nutrition and training plan instead of just saying f*** it.
Check in with your coach regularly and embrace your nutrition plan so that you can find a balance that allows you to enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas and come January first you will be 2 months AHEAD, not 2+ months behind.
Here are our top tips to help you have a healthy (and still enjoyable) holiday season!
Cook “Healthier” Options
There are so many ways to slightly adjust your favorite holiday recipes to save on calories while keeping the flavor you love.
So far this fall I’ve made protein pumpkin muffins, low calorie pumpkin pudding, roasted maple fall veggies, and even more treats & meals that all fit nicely into my macros – and even my husband devours them 😉
Get creative by searching the web for healthier takes on your favorites and try some of these swaps:
→ If a recipe calls for sour cream, sub it out for Greek yogurt for a protein boost
→ Switch out a calorie-rich dip & chips for homemade hummus & sliced veggies
→ Make simple roasted veggies as a side instead of a cream or butter-based casserole
→ Add high quality meats and pickled veggies to your classic cheese tray
→ Many baking recipes can even exchange sugar for applesauce or stevia
Try something new or search for “light” versions of your favorite recipes online and I bet you’ll find something easy that you and your family will love!
[We have a recipe guide that includes macros, that’s perfect for you – Click Here – 101 Macro Friendly Meals]
Have you ever timed yourself to see how quickly you eat? The holidays are a perfect chance to really slow down and savor the flavors of your meal. Notice all the wonderful smells, tastes, and textures.
Try to make your meals last at least 20 minutes, chew your food slowly, and use all of your senses to enjoy the meal.
This will not only help you stay more in tune with when you’re actually full so you can avoid overeating, but it will also help your digestion and decrease bloating.
Stop and wait at least 10 minutes before going for another helping of food. Ask yourself if you’re truly hungry and you might realize you’re actually quite full. This will help you avoid that uncomfortable overly-full feeling.
Do you already know you’re a fast eater? Then try setting your utensils down after each bite to really force yourself to slow down and savor the special holiday meals.
I’d also recommend choosing your snacks wisely. Don’t fall into the lure of never ending appetizers and nibbling for 12 hours straight.
Listen to your hunger and fullness cues and try to stick with your normal meal times. When eating a family-style meal, fill your plate with veggies and protein first so you can be sure to get a good mix of micronutrients in before that pie.
Also, pack healthy snacks while you’re on the go like high protein bars, single serve Greek yogurt, nuts, and fruit. A little bit of preparation goes a long way!
Hit the Gym
Not only will sticking to your workouts help you stay on track to your goals, but a good workout can also be the perfect holiday stress buster! Stick to your regular workout routine as much as possible to help balance out your food intake and boost your mood.
If you know you will only have access to limited equipment, check out our hotel workout plan in the BBP Elite. You could also drop in at a new gym, try a different group fitness class, and get a few walks in to hit your 10,000 steps per day.
Don’t let yourself put off a workout until later – because we all know “later” might never come! Workout first thing in the morning to kick off your day in a good way and make it easier to stick to healthy decisions later on.
No equipment and short on time? Opt for an at-home workout from PopSugar Fitness on Youtube. No excuses 🙂
Limit Alcohol Consumption
Drinking too much alcohol can affect your sleep, workout performance, mood, immune system, and more. Not to mention most drinks are serious calorie bombs!
If you know you will have a few drinks, space them out with a full glass of water between each to keep you hydrated and help you slow down consumption. You might also consider giving yourself a “drink goal,” i.e. 2 glasses of wine with dinner.
I’d also recommend going into your holiday parties prepared with some fun mocktails!
Try a hot toddy without the booze by mixing tea, honey, lemon juice, and spices (try clove & cinnamon) with warm water.
Or mix a splash of pomegranate/cranberry juice with sparkling water for another festive non-alcoholic drink.
Get creative and I promise you won’t miss the booze this season – and definitely not the hangover!
Take “Me” Time
The holidays can be stressful with travel, busy schedules, etc. so set aside a few moments each day for gratitude and self-care. This can help reduce anxiety and keep your mindset positive throughout the holiday hustle & bustle.
Don’t be afraid to decline an invite that adds too much to your plate. Sometimes saying no is the ultimate form of self-care! Stay in, get cozy, and put a simple meal in the slow cooker.
You can also step up the self-care with a friendly coffee date, yoga class, or by booking yourself a massage if you feel the end-of-year stress creeping up on you.
Take the time to stop, breathe, and reflect on all the good you have in your life. Daily gratitude tends to quickly put things into perspective and enhance your mood.
Too little sleep can leave you feeling anxious, fatigued, and can even lead to the overconsumption of calories. There’s also no better way to beat off those holiday germs floating around than making sure you are well-rested.
Do your best to stick to your regular sleep schedule throughout the holidays by going to bed and waking up at about the same time as usual.
If you find yourself wired, focus on your nighttime ritual. Add in a hot bath, shut off electronics, and/or do some light stretching to help you wind down before climbing into bed.
Remember – there’s no supplement, diet change, or quick fix that can make up for a quality 7-8 hours of sleep!
Take the Focus off Food
While the holidays tend to be full of fun food and treats, take your focus off food and savor the real moments that make the holidays a special time of year.
→ Connect with a loved one you don’t get to see often
→ Play an outdoor game like bags/cornhole, frisbee, or football
→ Break out some board games or a card game
→ Go for a family hike or bike ride
→ Have a holiday arts & crafts day
→ Plan an outing to go see a movie, look at Christmas lights, or go ice skating or skiing
This gives you a chance to get out of the kitchen and make some memories with your loved ones.
Don’t forget that this is a rare time of year where you get to spend extra time with friends and family – take full advantage of that! Who knows – you might even create a new family tradition.
There’s no need for an all-or-nothing mindset heading into the holidays. There are so many ways to enjoy this season without any guilt and without taking 3 steps back on your progress.
And keep in mind, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and any other holiday you celebrate only make up a very small percentage of your whole year.
Make sure the other 99% of your year is on point to get you where you want to be, which will ensure you can fully enjoy your holiday festivities!
PS – if you want to be ahead of the game come January first, reach out to a BBP coach today! Why wait? Click Here.
This is a blog written by Caroline Ofenstein. Caroline is Certified With Precision Nutrition, NCI, CrossFit, and is also a Boom-Boom Performance Nutrition Coach. Caroline is our go-to source for CrossFit Nutrition AND bridging the gap between Aesthetics and Performance, which is where she has recently pushes a lot of her focus in order to help people understand how they can achieve both performance and the lean physique we all strive for.