The holiday season is often a minefield for those of us who are on a healthy eating plan. The numerous festive gatherings are mostly centered around food and drink of the most calorific varieties. These infamous holiday soirees can sabotage your healthy living goals faster than Santa can devour a plate of mince pies! Luckily, we have some tips to see you through this festive season.

1. Socialize instead of snacking

Don’t forget that the ultimate aim of holiday gatherings is to enjoy the company of family and friends. Concentrate on socializing and sharing meaningful conversation. Conversing at least an arm’s reach away from platters of food can also prevent unintentional and mindless snacking.

2. Bring your own

Bringing your own dish to a holiday party means you’ll be guaranteed at least one healthy option.

3. Eat before you go

Have a substantial snack, or even a meal before you arrive to temper your appetite. If you’re already comfortably full, you’ll be far less likely to be tempted by fatty foods, pies and other sugary or starchy offerings.

4. Pack a travel kit

If you are flying this holiday season, pack a few snacks to help you survive flight delays and tricky airport food. If you are driving, bring a cooler with you with healthy snacks. Road side service stations are not the best for healthy eating.

5. Protein not carbs

Whether it’s roast turkey, fish, beef, venison or ham, protein dishes keep you feeling fuller for longer.

6. Be smart about sides

Pick kale, green beans, red cabbage and other flavourful and nutrient-rich holiday sides will help you steer clear of empty carbs in other dishes, such as potatoes and stuffing.

7. Remember the difference between hunger and habit

Eat slowly to better monitor your level of satiation. Be mindful as you chew and put your fork down between bites. Finish when you’re satisfied, but not stuffed.

8. Give the gift of leftovers

If you’re hosting the big meal, send tempting leftovers as care packages with your guests. They’ll appreciate the thought and enjoy the delicious food for days to come.

9. Keep moving

With the dark nights and colder weather, many of us give up on are exercise routine. Try stopping at the gym when you are already out such as before or after work. Or keep active throughout the day. Park further from work or shops and walk the last distance. Go to the toilets on a different floor or walk to speak to your colleges rather than email them.

10. Water

Drinking plenty of water promotes healthy digestion, prevents headaches and generally keeps your body functioning at its best. It also fills you up, helping to prevent mindless eating. For variety, try infusing your water with cucumber or lemon slices.

11. Get enough sleep

Not getting enough sleep is associated with a host of negative health effects, including impaired cognitive ability—which may result in poorer eating decisions. Try to go to bed at the same time every night and create a bedtime ritual to help you wind down.

12. Don’t beat yourself up

If you do overindulge, don’t dwell on it or view it as an excuse to continue overeating. This happens to many people on a weight loss journey. The faster you can identify the slip and get back on track the better set you are for the future. Overindulgence is always going to happen in life, it is the speed at which we can adjust to counteract these times that reduces weight gain.

13. New year’s resolution

Start thinking of your goals for 2018, how staying on track over the holidays will help you hit these targets. Think not only of diet and exercise goals, but of other personal goals. For many people losing weight opens up the doors to new experiences. So, set yourself challenges that will help build your self-esteem and boost your confidence!

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