The holidays are a time for the family to come together, express their gratitude for what they have, and enjoy each other’s company Christmas dinner is a focal point around which the celebration, conversation, and entertainment flows. Yet, for many people, the joy of Christmas dinner is tempered by the worry that they will pack on unwanted holiday calories. In this article, we reveal six ways to enjoy a delicious holiday meal without the weight gain.
- Workout Early
- Don’t Starve Yourself During the Day
- Drink Lots of Water
- Sugar Substitutes
- Make Healthy Swaps
- Walk It Off
Before the family gathers and the Christmas festivities and their high-calories snacks get underway, book your self-maintenance time at the gym. Include a mixture of resistance training and High Intensity Interval Training. As well as burning a lot of calories during your workout, you will be depleting your body of glycogen, its main energy source. That means that you can have a sugary, carb meal straight after your workout without fear of adding to your fat stores. All of those carbs will go directly into your muscle cells to replace the glycogen that you have used up.
Work out on an empty stomach, and you will have an even greater level of calorie burn. In a 2016 study, it was shown that exercising in a fasted state resulted in an increased calorie burn over the next twenty-four hours.
Why not treat yourself to a Christmas breakfast of pancakes, whipped cream, and maple syrup? Just make sure that you’ve earned it with a great pre-breakfast workout.
An early morning workout that combines resistance training with HIIT will also bring on the enhanced post-exercise oxygen consumption (epoc) effect. This involves an increased demand for oxygen which leads to a boosted metabolism for at least twenty-four hours after the workout. That means that, even if you do slightly overindulge throughout Christmas Day, your increased burn of calories will negate at least some of it.
Don’t Starve Yourself During the Day
You’ve probably heard the advice not to go food shopping when you’re hungry. The same applies to sitting at the Christmas meal table. If you are famished when you present yourself in front of the feast, it is inevitable that you are going to eat way too much of everything—and pay the consequences. It will leave you feeling bloated, stuffed, and extremely heavy. It will also pile on extra calories that are very hard to get rid of.
To avoid this result, you should have something to eat every two to three hours over the course of the day. Try to make some healthy choices like fruit, cheese, crackers, and Greek yogurt. When it comes time to share in the main meal of the day, put just a little bit of everything on your plate—and discipline yourself to just one serving.
Drink Lots of Water
Maintaining a healthy level of water consumption over the course of Christmas Day is a smart strategy for controlling calories. The many water benefits include helping you to digest the foods that you are eating and helping to offset gastric issues like constipation or gas. It also reduces hunger, which is a real bonus when you are surrounded by a lot of tempting but not overly healthy treats, as often happens on Christmas Day.
Water will raise your metabolism to increase your calorie burn. It will also increase your energy levels and help to flush toxins from your body.
Opting for water instead of sugar-laden drinks will save your body from a lot of extra calories. If you’re planning on drinking alcohol, why not set the goal of cutting your consumption in half and replacing fifty percent of that alcohol with water? You will save a whole lot of calories and, possibly, a post-Christmas Day hangover!
Before you begin your Christmas dinner, have a glass of water. Many people mistake hunger for thirst, so this will help you to avoid taking in unnecessary calories.
You don’t have to compromise on the taste of your family’s Christmas desserts this year. Simply make healthier choices. Simply swap out the sugar in the recipes with a sugar substitute. Our favorite is stevia, which comes from the leaf of the stevia rebaudiana tree. Amazingly, stevia is two hundred times sweeter than sugar. That means you will have to use it sparingly in your recipes. It is available in a number of different forms, including sachets, liquid, and dissolvable tablets.
Another healthy sugar substitute is maple syrup. It is low in fructose and high in health-giving compounds like calcium potassium, zinc, and manganese. Maple syrup is also an excellent source of antioxidants.
A third sugar substitute is coconut sugar. It is made from the sap of the flower bud of the coconut tree. It provides an excellent source of Vitamin C, as well as potassium. Replace with sugar in your recipes on a one-to-one basis.
Make Healthy Swaps
In addition to swapping out sugar in your dessert recipes, you can also cut Christmas calories by making healthy swaps with your main meal. Simple swaps include swapping out full fat cheese with reduced fat cheese, and opting for low fat ricotta rather than cream cheese. When it comes to cooking your food, consider switching from frying to baking or air frying. Rather than creamy, high fat salad dressings, make use of lemon juice or vinegar. Finally, wherever possible, drain the fat away from your meats before serving.
Walk It Off
In the evening, when the family has dispersed and the leftovers are in the fridge, resist the temptation to blob in front of the TV. Instead, go for a thirty-minute evening walk. The fresh air and exercise will make you feel invigorated, and the calorie burn will help to offset the ham and cookies!
This Christmas, enjoy your family and holiday treats while following our six simple steps to avoid those unwanted Christmas calories, and you’ll wake up the next day feeling light, bright, and breezy!