Holiday Nutrition Tips
The holiday season is a festive time. You’ve also had a challenging year and you’d like to kick back. So you should! But you’ve also improved your health and fitness during the year, so you should keep at least one foot on the wagon because if you do come off it entirely, it can take a very long time to get just that one foot on again.
The holiday season is a good time to experiment with flexible dieting because if done correctly you’ll stay on the wagon while still enjoying the holiday treats. It does take some thought and planning, though.
Know Your Numbers
Having an idea of how much of each macro you need to consume is important if you’d like to manage how much you’re eating. Managing those numbers is just as important. Either know how much you are going to eat, or track how much you’re eating as you go.
Prospective management involves calculating your macro/caloric intake numbers and then ensuring that your food is weighed and counted before you consume it.
Retrospective management requires you to calculate how many macros/calories you consumed after having the food. As the day goes on you try to meet your intake requirements based on what you have already eaten and what you ‘have left’ to eat. In this instance you do still need to calculate your intake numbers in advance and have that plugged into an app or at the very least a spreadsheet, and you do still need to use a resource that provides the nutritional information for the food you’re eating.
Either one of these approaches will help you to ensure that you’re not eating too much.
Protein and Fat
Aim to get a moderate amount in at all meals and snacks. It keeps you satiated so you’re less likely to snack, and protein has a thermic effect so it keeps your metabolism ticking over. If you’re not doing any physical activity that day, have a bit less than you normally would.
A reminder: All veges and fruit, all starches, fruit juices, baking, sweets and chocolates, ice-cream, and all grain-based products end up the same way – as sugar. The goodies, however, spike blood sugar and therefore insulin, stimulating the storage of fat, especially if you aren’t exercising much.
Have the goodies, but make that your carb for that meal or snack. If you are training, have your goodies after training. Put simply, if you plan on having treats, have less or none of the ‘good carbs’ to keep total carb intake similar to what it would be normally. But don’t avoid the veges, roots, tubers and fruit entirely because you need the fibre, mineral and nutrients.
It’s a really simple approach: If you’ve had a big meal now, have a smaller meal later. Or, if you eat less now, have more later. Keep. It. Simple!