Halloween is here which means we’re at the official beginning of the holidays and the beginning of a whole season of edible temptations. From leftover Halloween candy at home to the barrage of holiday treats that seem to start popping up everywhere from check stand displays to the office kitchen, we’ve developed a game plan that can help you enjoy treats in a healthy way.
The days between Halloween and New Year’s Day are some of the busiest of the whole year, which makes this season an especially important time to stay nourished. As you hustle through the holidays make sure that you are eating regularly. You are much more likely to fill up on junk food if you are running around on an empty stomach. Eat regular meals and keep snacks that include protein and fiber, like superfood-packed granola, on hand. They will help you to feel full longer and avoid eating empty calories.
People often mistake thirst for hunger and eat when what they really need is a tall glass of water. Staying hydrated will help you determine which cue your body is giving you. Having a glass of water also provides an excellent opportunity for you to slow down and listen to your body when cravings strike. If you find yourself jonesing for junk, take the time to drink a tall glass of water, and then check in with your body. It will help you feel fuller and if you still want a bite of something decadent, you will be less likely to overindulge.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Another bodily cue that people mistake for hunger is tiredness. When you aren’t getting an adequate amount of sleep, your blood sugar and the hormones that affect your appetite can be affected in ways that lead you to feel hungrier than usual. People who are sleep-deprived also tend to have more intense cravings for sugary foods and simple carbs as the body seeks a quick energy boost. Making sure to log about 8 hours of restful sleep every night is one way to avoid rampant ravenousness.
BYO Healthy Snacks or Pre-Game
When you are headed out to a holiday party where you know that there will be tons of unhealthy options, bring your own healthy snacks like a tray of fresh fruit and veggies. If you’re going to an event where it wouldn’t be appropriate to bring your own food, be sure to pre-game before the event with a healthy mini-meal and pack a discreet snack, like a small bag of carrots or almonds, in your purse or coat pocket. This will keep you from loosing your cool once the bread basket lands on the table.
Form a Support Group
People are always stronger in groups and that’s why a group of friends that support your healthy decisions can be one of the best ways to stay on track during the holidays. Hanging out with friends who make healthy choices at holiday events will make it easier to make healthier choices for yourself. If you’re home alone and find yourself staring at the pie that your neighbor just dropped off, call a friend. Even if you don’t end up talking about the cravings that are creeping in, chances are the conversation will be a good distraction and you might find that your craving has diminished by the time you get off the phone.
While being a snob may not be a good quality to have in a lot of situations, it is a wonderful strategy when it comes to preventing holiday treat overload. When you are presented with a tantalizing tidbit, ask yourself, "Do I really want it?" If you think you might be tempted to indulge because you are bored or simply because it's in front of you, perhaps it’s something that you might want to pass up. However, if it is a truly tantalizing morsel that you know will actually leave your taste buds satisfied, then it just might be a worthwhile indulgence.
When You Treat Yourself, Enjoy It
Once you’ve decided to have a tasty tidbit, don’t second-guess or shame yourself. Instead of framing it in a negative way and thinking of it as a cheat, really allow yourself to enjoy it as a treat. Take the time to be present and savor the indulgence. When you really tune into the experience, you are more likely to feel truly satisfied by the experience, which will help you continue making choices from a healthy, balanced perspective.
Still looking for healthy ways to satisfy your sweet tooth? Check out the Recipes on the Philosophie Blog for tons of nourishing and delicious treats! Be sure to follow @philosophiemama and @philosophielove on Instagram for more ideas, tips, and tricks to creating a happy and healthy life!