Nothing says holiday season like expanding waistlines. Despite our best efforts, December sees many of us falling into the trap of too much egg nog and not enough exercise.
But how can we survive holiday parties and gut-busting dinners without packing on the pounds? DeliverLean and DL revAMP Detox Specialist and Raw Food Chef Alina Z. has a few tips to help us navigate the sea of treats and temptations.
5. Don't deprive yourself.
Don't starve yourself or forego all goodies to make room for holiday gluttony, mmmmmkay?
"To avoid overeating in one big meal, allow yourself small treats throughout the week," says Alina Z. "When you indulge a little bit during the week, you may be less likely to overindulge in a traditional pumpkin pie after the big dinner."
4. Eat more greens.
Alina Z. says she increases her intake of greens during the holidays to supply her bod with antioxidants and phytonutrients that help prevent cravings. Plus, they can help the detox organs work at their best -- should you indulge in something that's less-than-health.
"Try starting your morning with a rich green smoothie with superfoods such as maca, chlorella, bee pollen, medicinal mushrooms and ground flax seeds added to a base of your favorite fruits, fresh greens and vanilla almond milk," she suggests.
3. Eat small, balanced meals throughout the day (especially before a big holiday dinner).
"The impulse may often be to dramatically restrict your calories beforehand, however that may backfire when your eyes become bigger than your stomach," says Alina Z. "Instead of starving yourself, enjoy small, portion-controlled, balanced meals with your favorite holiday flavors."
That way, you won't be dying to stuff yourself when the food arrives.
2. Decide ahead of time what you really want to eat.
"When you find yourself sitting in front of all your holiday favorites, first thing to do is to take a deep breath and make a conscious plan of what dishes you would like to indulge in first," says Alina.
"Fill up half of your plate with green veggies and salad, one quarter with your favorite starchy side dishes and leave a palm-sized space for the protein. She recommends plant-based protein, as it's better for your digestion and well-being.
1. Slow down.
Don't just inhale your food. Enjoy conversations with family and friends, Alina says.
"Wait 20 minutes after you are done with your plate before you reach for the seconds," she says. "If you choose to get more food, eat it slowly and with gusto and pleasure. By taking your time to eat slowly, chewing every bite and enjoying every morsel, you will help your body do its best to digest the food and leave you happy and satisfied."
And what should you make an effort to eat, instead of some of the traditional, unhealthy options? Alina Z. recommends the following:
"To get the smoky flavor of fatty ham, simply add smoked salt to your side dishes," she says. She suggests it with lightly sautéed spinach with Portobello mushrooms and tomatoes.
Fresh rosemary, thyme and sage
"Use these fresh herbs to season your meals - this way you will get holiday flavor without adding extra calories," she says. She suggests adding them to roasted sweet potatoes, purple potatoes, broccoli and Brussels sprouts for color.
"Enjoy your green beans simply roasted with a touch of extra virgin olive oil and almond slivers," Alina says. They're big on the protein and fiber.
Mashed potato alternative
"Try adding a mashed celery root, parsnips or cauliflower to your mashed potatoes to cut down the calories and the starch," she says.
"It's light, bubbly and slightly sweet with only about 120 calories per glass," Alina says. Alternate every glass with flavored Italian sparkling water, she adds, and you'll halve your calorie intake.
Gelato or dark chocolate
Skip the heavy stuff like cream pies or tiramisu, and opt for a scoop of gelato or a small amount of dark chocolate, she says.
"Unlike American ice cream, gelato is lower in fat and choices can include great dairy-free options besides traditional flavors. Be sure to stick to a small portion. Too much of a good thing is not too good."
(And should you overindulge anyway, and need a little post-holiday detox, DL revamp is all about reversing that belly bloat. They've got plenty of food-based options, from five to ten day detoxes. Visit DLrevamp.com.)
Follow Hannah on Twitter @hannahgetshappy.