If you’re committed to staying healthy, the holiday season can be difficult to navigate
It’s hard enough to stay on track with your meal prep routine, but add in office parties, cocktails with friends, and family gatherings, and it can become near impossible to eat healthy foods. The holiday season revolves around decadent dishes and desserts that are usually full of unhealthy fats, simple carbs, and lots of sugar.
The good news is that it is possible to eat well during this time without a lot of deprivation and extra work. Nobody likes spending hours of time obsessing over their meal plan, and you can keep your nutrition in check with a few simple substitutes.
Check out these easy swaps for healthier meals.
It’s important to start the day off right with a nutrient dense breakfast. If you’re tempted to skip breakfast to save on calories – don’t. Breakfast gives your body energy for the day ahead, and if you eat a hearty, healthy breakfast, you’ll be less hungry throughout the day.
Replace processed yogurt for plain Greek yogurt with a spoonful of honey. It’s just as sweet and satisfying, but without the preservatives and excess sugar. You can even add a handful of berries or almonds on top. It’s easy to take on the go for mornings when you’re short on time.
If savory breakfast is more your style, whip up avocado toast on sprouted grain bread instead of white toast with butter and jam. Avocado toast is flavorful and filling, and sprouted grain bread is full of protein and fiber. This simple breakfast will keep you full until lunchtime.
Many people find it easy to slip up on nutrition goals during lunch. It’s tempting to throw a frozen meal in the microwave or even hit the drive-through. It’s true that a busy workday doesn’t allow for a lot of energy spent on prepping lunch, but you can use these simple alternatives to eat well in a hurry.
For something quick and simple, swap out your classic peanut butter and jelly with whole grain bread and unprocessed nut butter. Unlike white bread with peanut butter, both of which are usually filled with preservatives and simple sugars, this combo will give you a protein boost to fill you up and combat the afternoon slump.
You probably know chips aren’t the healthiest choice, but sometimes you want something with a satisfying crunch. Instead, choose a minimally processed brown rice cake as your side. It has that great crunchiness but without the oil and simple carbs.
If you’re in the habit of grabbing a candy bar or granola bar, some simple replacements will give you more energy.
Avoid processed sugary packaged snacks. Instead, grab whole foods with real ingredients. Snacks don’t have to be complicated or take a lot of prep time – boiled eggs, a handful of nuts, berries, or a cheese stick are a few great options.
Try a whole fruit smoothie to keep hydrated and fill your stomach. It’s an energy booster, and it can feel like a treat. If you’re adventurous, blend it with some spinach for added nutrients.
Swap out those starchy potatoes. When you add in salt and butter, the calories can really start to accumulate. Instead, use a roasted sweet potato with a dash of cinnamon, or a simple riced cauliflower mash with a dab of butter and garlic.
If you love pasta but don’t love the high calories and simple carbs, use spaghetti squash or zucchini in place of wheat noodles. These vegetables taste great with marinara sauce, and you might just find that you don’t really miss the wheat pasta.
5. Holiday parties
When you attend holiday celebrations, there are a few things you can do to keep your nutrition goals on track.
Scan the refreshments for the healthiest options. For example, you can reach for shrimp with cocktail sauce instead of the cheese platter. If you’re going to a pot-luck style meeting, bring your own veggie tray. That way, you’ll know for sure there will be healthy options to choose from.
One thing to keep in mind is that too much deprivation can cause you to give into temptation. If you’re going to indulge, do so with intention.
It’s ok to allow yourself to eat something decadent, as long as you plan ahead for it. Fully enjoy it, but resist the urge to overconsume. It’s better to spend 500 calories on one thing you really love and enjoy than to waste the same number of calories on candy or cocoa that you binge and feel guilty about later.
If you know you can’t resist your mom’s apple pie or your coworker’s famous blondies, plan ahead to enjoy those favorite items and you won’t feel bad about it later.
As always, before committing to any health regimen, it’s a good idea to check-in with your doctor to make sure you’re good to go.
If you need some help this holiday season with meal prep, take a look at our customizable meal options. We can help you create a menu to have the perfect meals delivered to you, fresh and ready to go. We can help you stay on track and get good nutrition throughout the season. Contact us today!