How To Eat In Between Holidays

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1223-holiday-google-doodle_full_380Ugh, the dreadful month of December. If Thanksgiving has left you with too many leftovers and that “I ate way too much” feeling please note that we have at least a couple more celebrations to get through.

But you already knew that.

Growing up, I remember having years where the attitude was to let go and settle in for the ride. December simply equaled 5 pounds gained.  You knew you were going to step on the scale in  January in a little bit of shock.  Wasn’t I supposed to be enjoying myself?  Isn’t that what the holidays, and all those parties, are all about – fun, revelry, eating some of everything?  How come some people came out unscathed and I always felt like a loser for not being disciplined enough?

Turns out, I was never alone. For many people, December is one long blow out.

One key lesson I learned is that while we have an abundance of holidays and parties to celebrate in one month, it doesn’t mean ALL month long.   We are not a slave to holiday eating and drinking. We might overeat and over drink on occasion but we have plenty of opportunity in between holidays and parties to regroup.

I learned, as well as the many people who are successful at maintaining their weight through the holidays, some simple techniques that I have coined Simplify. Lighten. Reduce.  It’s like the 80/20 rule for the holidays. Here’s how it works:

Eat Simple and Nourishing Meals. One Thanksgiving dinner is not going to blow all your good efforts away. However, this is no excuse to keep the party going all month long.  After a holiday  like Thanksgiving, where the tendency is to eat more than we normally would, make a promise to step back and get on track again.  Focus on including:

  • Leafy greens such as kale, collards and spinach – nutritional powerhouses with almost no calories.
  • Great fats, such as flaxseeds, chia seeds, avocados, extra virgin olive oil – keep you full and satisfied.
  • Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa and wild rice – good for your mood and keeps you satisfied too.
  • Good for you proteins, such as salmon, sardines and organic chicken – healthy fats and clean protein equals steady energy.

Lighten your meals. In between holidays forgo fried foods, desserts, appetizers, the bread basket at the restaurant, cream sauces, the extra glass of wine.  Steam your vegetables or lightly sauté.  It’s all waiting for you at your next party.

Reduce your food intake. We eat with our eyes and our everyday meals are no exception. Most of us are notorious for underestimating how much we eat (and overestimating how much we exercise). Simple things such as using a salad plate for meals, making half your plate vegetables and cutting down on whole grains and proteins, putting half of the food you normally eat on your plate, eating and pausing to check in with your hunger are all great ways to reduce your calorie intake.  If you are still hungry, by all means eat some more, but you might be surprised.

Need some inspiration on what to eat?  Click here, here and here for recipes that not only taste great but are nutritious, filling and simple.

Now I would love to hear from you.  How do you handle the days in between the holidays?  Leave me a comment below!







15 comments to " How To Eat In Between Holidays "

  • such great tips Heather! I could use an audio file downloaded in my brain this year. TY for this!!

  • I love your application of the 80/20 rule here. That’s brill.

    You know, I’ve never gained weight during the holidays, and I’ve always intuitively followed your guidelines above. So, dear readers, it really works.

    I also love your Pound Zero title. You are on fire, woman! :-) And it’s interactive? How cool is that? I’m going to send this to my mom.

    • Heather Carey

      Hi Michelle, that is great news, it’s difficult for a lot of people to not gain weight so I tell people to work at maintaining it. Let me know how Pound Zero works for your mom!

  • I need all the reminders I can get! Love the recipes, thanks for that!

    I’ve been so busy this holiday season the kale in my fridge is going bad and I order pizza. You’re inspiring me to plan better!

  • i have always eaten intuitively and have stayed within the same weight range all of my adult life. until this year. along with menopause has come a surprising weight gain (though minimal, it’s thrown me a bit). i appreciate your healthy and realistic tips for eating mindfully through the holidays. thanks, heather.

    • Heather Carey

      Hi April, yes, as we get older, our metabolism slows, menopause creeps in know the rest. Good for you for being so mindful of it!

  • Fantastic reminder Heather. I need to get my greens in during the holiday season and my exercise too!

  • ha ha ha ha oh god… I SO eat with my eyes!!!! hahahahahah I”ve been eating lots of Kale and potatoes and onions and leaks right from the garden… oh my …nothing like it… I’m going to keep my eyes … focused!!!1 hahahhaah that really got me~

  • Heather, did you read my mind?

    I needed to hear this advice – thank you for this gem and so doable – absolute gold! <3

  • Great tips for surviving the holidays! I love how your tips are realistic and doable for anyone. It can be very easy to write off the month of December and vow to make up for it in the coming months, but it feels a lot better to focus on eating as clean as possible over the holidays and start the year off with energy, focus, and not having to worry about a recovery period!

  • Great tips Heather.

    We sure do eat too much in the western world!

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