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How to Eat Healthy Over the Holidays & All Year Long

by Dawn Sarabura, BA, RYT, Personal Trainer and Group Exercise Instructor, Founder of Heron Creek Yoga & Fitness, Inc.

Edited by: Daelyn Newman



Maintaining a balanced and healthy diet during the holiday season can be challenging. Whether it's social pressure from your grandmother or mother when they ask you to eat more food, even when you tell them that you can’t possibly eat another bite, or your busy schedules that keep you from the gym, the holidays can break your healthy habits.

Here are some tips to help you navigate the festive food season:


  1. Practice Moderation: Enjoy your favourite holiday treats but in moderation. Avoid overindulging in high-calorie, sugary, or fatty foods. Try smaller portions to satisfy your cravings without overeating.

  2. Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water throughout the day. It keeps you hydrated and helps you feel full.

  3. Plan Balanced Meals: When you know you'll be attending a holiday party or event, plan your other meals to be well-balanced and nutritious. Include plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats in your meals.

  4. Be Mindful of Portion Sizes: Pay attention to portion sizes, especially at social gatherings. Use smaller plates and serve yourself smaller portions to avoid overeating.

  5. Prioritize Protein: Include protein-rich foods in your meals and snacks. Protein can help you feel full and satisfied, reducing the likelihood of overindulging in unhealthy treats.

  6. Opt for Healthy Snacks: Keep healthy snacks like nuts, yogurt, fruits, and cut-up vegetables on hand. When you have nutritious snacks readily available, you're less likely to reach for unhealthy options.

  7. Limit Alcohol Consumption: Alcoholic beverages can be high in calories and can lower your inhibitions, making it easier to overeat. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation and consider alternating with water or other non-alcoholic beverages.

  8. Stay Active: Continue with your regular exercise routine or find ways to stay active during the holiday season. Physical activity can help you manage your weight and reduce stress.

  9. Practice Mindful Eating: Be mindful of what you're eating. Enjoy the flavours and textures of your food, and pay attention to your body's hunger and fullness cues. Avoid distractions  while eating, such as watching TV. (We always have football or hockey on in our homes! They can lead to overeating when you aren’t consciously aware of your eating)

  10. Get Adequate Sleep: Aim for sufficient rest each night. Lack of sleep can affect your appetite hormones, leading to increased cravings for unhealthy foods.

  11. Manage Stress: The holiday season can be stressful. Practice stress-reducing activities like meditation, deep breathing, yoga, or spending time with loved ones to help manage emotional eating.

  12. Don't Skip Meals: Skipping meals in an attempt to save calories for a holiday feast can lead to overeating later on. Eat regular, balanced meals to maintain stable blood sugar levels and prevent excessive hunger.


Examples of foods that contain approximately 30 grams of protein:

  1. Grilled Steak: A 4-ounce (113g) serving of grilled steak typically contains around 30 grams of protein.

  2. Chicken Thighs: About 3.5 boneless, skinless chicken thighs (approximately 180g) provide roughly 30 grams of protein.

  3. Tuna: A 5-ounce (142g) can of canned tuna (packed in water) typically contains about 30 grams of protein.

  4. Pork Chop: A 4-ounce (113g) cooked pork chop can provide approximately 30 grams of protein.

  5. Shrimp: Approximately 6 ounces (170g) of cooked shrimp supply roughly 30 grams of protein.

  6. Ground Turkey: A 4-ounce (113g) serving of cooked ground turkey has approximately 30 grams of protein.

  7. Low-Fat Mozzarella Cheese: About 4 ounces (113g) of low-fat mozzarella cheese contains around 30 grams of protein.

  8. Greek Yogurt: A 5.3-ounce (150g) container of Greek yogurt typically provides about 15-20 grams of protein, so consuming 2 of these containers can give you roughly 30 grams of protein.

  9. Lentils: Approximately 1 cup (200g) of cooked lentils can supply about 30 grams of protein.

  10. Tofu: A 5.3-ounce (150g) serving of firm tofu contains approximately 30 grams of protein.

Sample Meal plan 2,000 Calories 30g Fibre, 90 g Protein, 25g Fat

Breakfast:

  • Scrambled Eggs: 2 large eggs (12g protein, 10g fat)

  • Whole Grain Toast: 2 slices (around 4g fiber)

  • Avocado: 1/2 avocado (around 4g fiber, 6g fat)

  • Spinach: 1 cup (around 4g fiber)

  • Fresh Berries (e.g., strawberries, blueberries): 1 cup (around 8g fiber)

Lunch:

  • Grilled Chicken Breast: 4 ounces (28g protein)

  • Quinoa: 1 cup cooked (around 5g protein, 5g fiber)

  • Steamed Broccoli: 1 cup (around 5g fiber)

  • Mixed Greens Salad: With various veggies, including tomatoes and cucumbers (around 4g fiber)

  • Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Dressing: 2 tablespoons (around 14g fat)

Snack:

  • 0% Greek Yogurt: 6 ounces (around 15g protein, 0g fiber)

  • Almonds: A small handful (around 3g fiber, 15g fat)

Dinner:

  • Baked Salmon: 4 ounces (around 25g protein, 10g fat)

  • Brown Rice: 1 cup cooked (around 4g fiber)

  • Roasted Asparagus: 1 cup (around 3g fiber)

  • Steamed Carrots: 1 cup (around 3g fiber)

Snack/Dessert:

  • Apple: 1 medium (around 4g fiber)

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