In a word, yes. But, I’m not going to lie. It takes some work. Dedication. And some planning.
Like anything, we have a choice. Most of us know what to do, but making healthy selections requires a special level of commitment around the holidays that many of us are not prepared to do. It’s important to internalize the fact that, as with most things, healthy eating is never black or white. There are certainly shades of gray we can aim for. We can decide to go full off the rails, try to achieve perfection, or find a middle ground. Think of it as the three bears version of approaching holiday eating.
This article is based on the assumption that, among the majority of us, few are striving for eating and lifestyle perfection around the holidays. Some are completely off the wagon. But, the majority would be open to finding that balance.
Here are some tips on how to do that.
- Make sure you are still getting the good stuff in. Fruits, vegetable, whole grains. Food containing healthy oils (think avocados and nuts in portion-controlled amounts and fish). These choices will fill you up and make it less likely to go crazy on the stuff we know we should be eating less of.
- Keep up the physical activity. Make it a priority! Here in Virginia, it’s cold this time of the year. Find something, or a combination of somethings, that you enjoy doing and commit to it daily.
- Follow the 80-20 rule, meaning that 80% of what you put in your body is healthy fuel and 20% is indulgent. This will take some planning and, obviously, the percentages don’t need to be exact. It’s just a guide. Ideas to find your right balance:
- Pre-eat before parties and then just get a little bit of everything to try, so you don’t feel like you are missing out.
- If you know you are eating out for dinner or a party, make sure that what you are eating during the day is healthy and calorie-sparing.
- If you are eating out for dinner, and order something that’s a treat, don’t hesitate to take part home and enjoy it again later.
- Make sure you are factoring in alcohol calories too—calories that contribute to weight gain come, not only from the foods we eat, but also the beverages we choose.
What are your 80-20 eating hacks? How are you successful at finding that gray area of healthy eating and enjoyment over the holiday season? Weigh in (pun intended) here!
Virginia Cancer Specialists Nutrition Team