By Jennifer Nicole Lee,
Fitness Expert & Author
Miss Bikini America 2005, Miss Muscle and Fitness
Okay, so I have no excuses this year to keep my holiday gatherings both healthy and delicious. But one of the main questions my fitness friends ask me is “How can I prepare healthy holiday meals?” My answer is SIMPLE! Most people believe the myth that you cant enjoy your food if its healthy. But this is just not true. You can easily create a lavish spread of fresh healthy vegetable casseroles, lean white meat turkey breast, moist stuffing, and fresh cranberry and other fruit sauces, and even home made baked pies for all of your loved ones and the fitness fanatics alike to enjoy!
Before I get to my super sensational all time favorite recipes (including my personal favories), here are my Top 10 Seasonal Secrets to Prevent Holiday Weight Gain:
NOTE: The average weight gain from Thanksgiving until January 2, when the month of “culinary atonement” begins, is seven pounds. So be careful!
However, if you follow my top rules here, I know you can maintain your current weight and even shed a few pounds
1.If You Are Going to Eat it, Then Make Sure You Enjoy It!:
We all have those certain dishes or items that just bring us back to childhood and make the holidays special. Go ahead, indulge! Be choosy about what you indulge in though. Don’t choose the pumpkin pie just because it is lower in fat than the pecan (which it is). If you want the pecan, choose the pecan! You don’t want to set yourself up for binges later. That one piece of pumpkin pie may not satisfy you, so you may have another when, really, you could have had just one piece of pecan and been completely satisfied. Give yourself permission to enjoy the holidays. Just enjoy with a sense of moderation.
“SIDE NOTE FROM JNL”-If you are going to have a “cheat” bite or “cheat” meal, don’t feel bad about it, or guilty! This will only cause you to eat more out of emotional eating. Instead, focus back on your healhty food plan, and you will feel more balanced and in control.
2.Avoid white sugar.
I don’t have to you that white sugar is bad for you. You all know this much by now. When our sweet tooth strikes aim for naturally sweetened treats. Some of my all time favorite that come to mind are fresh fruit tarts, fresh cranberry sauce, fruit salad, and also baked goods made with naturally sweet bananas, such as bananu nut muffins.
3.Always Eat a healthy breakfast! My saying goes “Eat breakfast like a King, Lunch Like a Prince, and Dinner like a Pauper”. Set yourself up for success by eating a satisfying breakfast to work with your metabolism, instead of against it. Plus, later on in the day your portion control will be easier this way.
4.Drink up to eight glasses of ice water, every day! Why iced? Because your body has to burn fat (yeah!) to heat the frigid liquid to body temperature. That takes calories. Besides, water will fill you up and helps you flush toxins.
5.To Burn that Big Holiday Meal Faster, Aim to Work out BEFORE Your Meal!
Even if you aim at a quick 20 minute routine of weights, or 20 minutes of cardio in your target heart rate zone, you will feel both mentally and physically better once you sit down to your meal. Plust your metabolism will be charged and ready to burn those calories! Just see it as the “Yin” to your “Yang” of eating! By balacing off your meal with that short quick and easy 20 minute workout, you will be setting yourslf up for success once your enjoying your meal.
6.Graze instead of Stuffing!
Leave the stuffing for the turkey! I like to prepare my big meal early allowing everyone to enjoy the entire meal throughout the day. I wake up early, have a healhty breakfast, and then serve my Thanksgiving meal at lunch time. This way, we all can enjoy the delicious meal throughout the day, grazing again around 3 or 4, and then again around 6 or 7At my house the meal is a buffet. We graze on appetizers and watch the TV, go outside and throw the football. We spend six hours together eating a little here, a little there. That is the best way to fuel your body because it removes the highs and lows caused by too much, then too little blood sugar. And if the spread has been put up and away, and the kitchen cleaned, and you are STILL HUNGRY, then whip up a Lean Dessert Protein shake by BSN. Its quick, easy, and satisfies your hunger while keeping you align with your fitness goals.
7.If you’re the chef, make sure the meal is a healthy one.
Turkey without the skin is a lean protein. Yams without marshmallows is a better version of sweet potato casserole, and green beans still taste amazing without butter and mashed potatoes don’t really need all that gravy! So I have become my own “Queen of Concoctions” taking regular recipes, and tweeking them to be healtheir. And there are plenty of healthy choices on the Thanksgiving menu if you look closely.
One of the major causes of weight gain during the holidays is lack of activity. Time is spent doing holiday errands, which makes us more tired, less motivated, and not wanting to stick to our routine. Best thing to do.stick to your regular schedule! Not only will it help keep weight gain down, it will give you more energy and it will reduce your stress which are both needed to battle the long lines and parking squabbles. Better yet, if you can up your activity, even better! Read more