The holiday season is nutty, and when you’re running around in 20 different directions and your brain has gone fa-la-la chances are, you’re not thinking quite so much about what, and how much, you’re eating. (Discover how to indulge without the bulge during the holidays!) So let me help you out: here are 4 things that might be sabotaging your diet—and mine—this holiday season, plus easy fix-it solutions.
Holiday diet buster: You’re eating out a ton. We get it: You’re busy. Jetting between kids’ holiday concerts, work parties, visits to craft stores to find ribbon for a wreath (um, the one that maybe you should have bought already assembled… sigh), it’s tempting to meet your family out for dinner or to bring takeout home. The problem with that: even a healthy meal, like a burrito on a whole-grain tortilla, delivers about 600 calories when you’re eating out (and we’re talking just the burrito)—partly because restaurant servings are bigger than those you might make at home, partly because they’re probably piling on more cheese than you would.
Fix it: Plan quick, healthy meals that will be ready when you get home. And to that end, I have two words for you: Slow. Cooker. Find my favorite pulled pork recipe, plus loads of other healthy dishes to make in your slow cooker here.
Related: Healthy Casseroles to Make Ahead.
Holiday diet buster: Eating what you think you should. You’re doing yourself a favor by reaching for something healthy–dried fruits, nuts, olives–when faced with a holiday-party spread, but often what happens is that you eat these things and then you dive into the mini quiches. In other words, you end up eating twice, or three times, as many calories as you would if you'd gone for what you really wanted in the first place. Especially don’t get tripped up by these 4 “Healthy” Holiday Foods That Aren’t.
Fix it: Eat what you really want. Faced with a holiday spread, survey the scene and pick a few things that look most delicious to you. And go easy on the alcohol, which tends to squelch willpower.
Holiday diet buster: You’re fortifying yourself with fatty drinks. When you’re out running around, a yummy coffee drink seems just the thing you need for a boost. Problem is, these special sips can pack 300, 500, even upwards of 700 calories if you go for the generous size and opt for the whipped cream.
Fix it: Go for smarter, slimmer sips. I’m all for a fully loaded mocha once in a while—but since the season is full of so many other treats, now is not the time to indulge. Instead, pick a skim latte (about 130 calories for 16 oz.) and skip the sugar and syrups if you can. Feel good knowing that you’re getting in a full serving of calcium-rich dairy.
Related: 4 Calorie-Busting Coffee Shop Drinks to Watch Out For, Plus Healthier Drinks to Choose
Holiday diet buster: You’re grazing on goodies and forgetting the calories.
This time of year, sweet treats seem to be beckoning around every corner. Yes, picking “just one” (or two) from the steady stream of chocolates and cookies that are flowing through your office during the holiday season seems reasonable—and it is, if you’re accounting for the calories they deliver. For instance, two medium cookies will set you back 400 calories—and to burn off those extra calories, the average person needs to run or walk 4 miles.
Fix it: Write down everything you eat. Keeping a food diary may seem like a lot of effort, but it empowers you to indulge in the treats that are worth it (why not have a cookie instead of the usual roll or crackers you have with your salad at lunch?) or to know how much more time you need to log at the gym. Bonus: Adding workouts to your week is a great way to squelch holiday-induced stress if you can spare the time.
What GOOD habits keep you healthy during the holidays? Tell us what you think below.