Ready for some good news? It’s possible to have your cake and eat it, too...at least when it comes to your nutrition goals and enjoying the most festive time of year. We’ll start by saying this: If you indulge on Thanksgiving, Christmas, or at your office holiday party, it is highly unlikely that you’ll experience any setbacks in your nutrition or training goals.
That said, loading up on holiday cookies and eggnog every day between Thanksgiving and New Year’s can throw you off track, so we’re bringing you simple ways to eat your favorite holiday foods without overdoing it.
Get Your Workout In
While you certainly don’t need to “earn” your festive meal by running 20 miles, there is something to be said for embracing a little physical activity before you sit down to dine and imbibe. Challenge your family to a Thanksgiving turkey trot—they’re usually no more than five miles—or duck out before Christmas dinner for a brisk walk or a few hill repeats. You’ll come back feeling refreshed and hungry.
Time Your Treats
After a workout, you need fuel to recover—simple carbohydrates to restock your muscle’s glycogen stores and protein to help your muscles rebuild. While nutritious foods—a scrambled egg or peanut butter and jelly sandwich—are your best bet, having a (small!) piece of pie or cup of eggnog after a workout can help you refuel without affecting your waistline.
Fill Up on Nutritious Foods
Before you dig in to creamy mashed potatoes or a second helping of stuffing, find the green beans (no, not the green bean casserole) and the mixed green salad. When you start your meal off with nutrient-dense foods, you’ll eat less of the not-so-good-for-you stuff. The same goes for water and adult libations. Alternate between H20—which will keep you hydrated for your holiday runs!—and a glass of wine or a cocktail.
Not only will filling up on nutritious foods keep you from eating too many helpings of pecan pie, it will also help keep your training on track. Your body needs good, whole foods to run and recover properly. One day of feasting won’t set your fitness back, but an entire holiday season of overindulging can make your workouts sluggish and throw off your fitness goals.
We know. It can be hard to resist a dessert buffet. But before you load up your plate, assess the options. If your host is serving three pies, decide which is your favorite and have a small slice, leaving room for a scoop of ice cream and a couple of cookies.
Once you’ve had your dessert, move away from the food table and start a game of charades or go for a walk around the block.How do you navigate the holidays? Tell us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!