It’s not easy to stick to your diet plan or get in some solid workout time during the holidays. If you’re on a fitness mission for your perfect body, the best place to start is with your diet — fitness experts agree that the secret is quality food, especially food with lots of protein.
But if you think that healthy eating over the holidays sounds impossible, you’re not alone. For some people, the holidays means big family dinners. Whether you’re hosting your own or a guest at someone’s table, it’s easy to stick to your healthy food plan without losing out on good food and good company.
Eating Right to Stay in Shape
Traditional favorites like turkey and collard greens are better for you than you’d think. Turkey is packed with muscle-building proteins, and a significant portion of your daily allowances of folic acid, vitamin B, zinc, and potassium. All of these nutrients are good for lowering bad cholesterol and boosting your immune system. The trick to avoid heavy gravy or deep frying (we’d recommend baking your bird instead).
And collard greens are one of the best veggies for you. Steamed collard greens have been proven to lower cholesterol and improve overall digestive health — they can even help you fight cancer! Healthy chefs should take care to avoid overcooking their greens, or saturating them in fatty sauces.
Pacing Your Meals with Targeted Snacking
One of the main obstacles to burning calories to lose weight over the holidays is poor meal pacing. Those big family dinners are hard on your body, especially when you’re eating heavily late in the day. Cardio and strength training requires frequent eating to keep your body’s metabolism quick.
You can solve that problem by slimming down on those big portions, and increasing your snacking between meals. If you’re a guest, try bringing the hosts a gift basket of treats you can all feel good about munching on before the meal starts. We recommend something with lots of vitamins and fiber, like nutritious energy bars, or smoothie bowls that add color to any table.
Making the Most of Your Gym Time
Don’t let those short winter days and long nights be a recipe for stagnation. Even if you only have a half hour to spare, you can fight off a food coma with simple, tried-and-true fat burning and strength building exercises to make the most of any workout.
Prioritize high intensity sets of exercises that use compound muscle groups, like squats, deadlifts, bench presses, and shoulder presses. Avoid sticking to routines of just isolated muscle exercises. If you only have a short window of gym time, you’ll want to mix it up with combination moves that constantly tone multiple muscles.