It can be so easy to put off important things, like dieting. We come up with every possible excuse to start at a later date. And what better excuse than the upcoming holiday season to once again push back those plans to lose weight?
Starting a new way of eating during the holidays can be challenging, but it can be done. If you decide not to diet now, telling yourself you’ll wait until the new year, you may be tempted to eat a little too freely for an entire month. Then, when January arrives, you may be looking at an added five or 10 pounds you’ll have to lose in addition to your original extra weight.
Remember, dieting during the holidays doesn’t have to mean depriving yourself. It’s all about making good food choices. Think of it as getting a head start on your New Year’s resolution, and keep these tips in mind to stick with your plan:
Plan ahead. No need to avoid the office party, family get-togethers or visits with friends. A little planning goes a long way when it comes to dieting. If there’s a big event in the evening, adjust your meals during the day. Don’t skip meals (you don’t want to show up hungry!). But plan a light, healthy breakfast and lunch—and don’t stray from the menu.
Choose healthy. This can be tricky when you’re surrounded by tempting foods. But healthy, tasty options will be available at many holiday gatherings. Choose turkey or fish instead of beef, and go for nutritious side dishes such as sweet potatoes, salads, steamed veggies and rice.
Watch out for appetizers. It’s easy to get carried away with finger foods before you sit down for a main meal. Try to be mindful of what you’re eating, and sample only a few items. Stay away from sauces and dips, which can be loaded with calories and fat.
Bring a dish to share. It’s a nice gesture to bring along an appetizer or side dish to a party—and that way you’ll know there will be something diet-friendly you can eat. Make an avocado dip, a Greek yogurt dip or hummus to share.
Keep healthy snacks on hand. All that holiday shopping, gift wrapping and card writing is sure to leave you hungry! Keep healthy snacks at home, in the office and even in your car to help you resist the urge to splurge on junk food. I like Arrowhead Mills Organic Popcorn when I’m in the mood for something crunchy. You could also make your own trail mix with dried cranberries and organic almonds. Or, try topping rice cakes, apples or celery with low-fat PB2 Peanut Butter for a filling, satisfying snack.
Why wait until the new year? Now is the perfect time to begin your healthy new lifestyle!
Southern States Championships top contender Melissa Transou, a figure competitor, wife and mother, blogs about the unique sports nutrition needs of female athletes exclusively for Vitacost.com.