Arielle Haspel is the host of healthy cooking shows, “Treat Yourself” on Glamour Magazine and “Clean Eating” on Healthination. She’s also a weekly contributor for Glamour Magazine and has appeared on national television shows and magazines, including The Doctor Oz Show, NBC’s Today in New York, ELLE, Glamour, People, Seventeen, Women’s Health and WellandGood. Her food philosophy is Healthified Eating – a lifestyle that incorporates fat, protein, carbohydrates, sugar, and dairy, but a just better quality of everything. She believes in filling up your life with clean, colorful, delicious fresh food that will satisfy cravings and balance blood sugar, so you can live a life full of energy and enthusiasm.
Being an expert on balancing her diet, she gave us 9 easy tips for a happy, healthy holiday, without feeling guilty about it.
1. Eat regular meals. Many people “save up” their daily calories around the holidays and then let themselves indulge later at parties and events. Remember, you only get one body in this lifetime. Are you going to treat it with chaotic, intense practices or with love and care? Hopefully the latter! So, don’t skip meals the day of the parties. Instead, eat like you normally do – a big breakfast and lunch with a few healthy snacks in between. This will promote balanced blood sugar and prevent you from overeating later on. No one said you can’t have a few bites of the desserts once you get the party. We just don’t want you having ALL of the desserts, especially right when you arrive! Try this Apple Pie Smoothie for a yummy holiday breakfast or snack.
2. Arrive feeling fabulous. Often uncontrollable cravings are linked to your thoughts and emotions – and not necessarily your stomach. So, do whatever it takes to feel good before you walk into that party to offset any holiday anxiety. Instead, try calm and healthy habits: get your hair done, apply an extra coat of mascara and look in the mirror and tell yourself that you’re f-ing fabulous. Oh, and arrive already feeling satisfied, too. We know that holiday parties have especially tempting treats, so instead of arriving hangry, get there already satiated. Eat a protein-packed snack before you show up, like a protein bar, an apple with almond butter or string cheese. Keeping your tummy full and your taste buds happy will keep your eyes off of the rounds of baby hot dogs and (hopefully) your hands off of them, too.
3. Scout out the veggies! Often, people end up eating socially at parties. They just need something to put into their mouths. Sound familiar? Look for the healthiest options, like carrots, celery, fruit and olives and pop that in your mouth. You’ll be less likely to overindulge if you’re munching on fresh crudite. The bonus? No guilt and your dress will still fit at the end of the night!
4. Put it all on a plate. When there’s a tempting buffet style setup or passed hor d’oeuvres, having one serving or appetizer at a time can lead to eating way more than you bargained for. To spatially see everything that you’re going to eat, put all your food on one plate. It will seem more like a filling entrée than than small appetizers and will make you feel much more satiated.
5. Breathe before you eat. Whether you’re munching on the hor d’oeuvres at a holiday party or at your in-laws house for Thanksgiving dinner, even three deep breaths before you eat can prevent you from eating too much (and too fast). Some people pray or say grace before a meal, but if you’re not on the religious type, just breathe. Hold your plate, look down at your food, take three deep breaths, and say “thank you.” When you take a second or two to become mindful of what you’re about to put in your body and grateful that you have something delicious to eat, you instantly feel a wave of calmness, which can prevent you from overeating and speed eating.
6. Savor every bite. Depriving ourselves of foods we love and ignoring our cravings is a recipe for disaster. Before you know it, the entire pumpkin pie is gone, right?! Try savoring literally each lick and each bite. Here’s how: take a bite (no matter what it is – cake or turkey) and chew it 15-30 times or until it becomes liquid in your mouth. Let it melt in your mouth. Notice the different flavors and textures. Then, swallow with a relaxed mind. If you approach all of your meals this slowly and sensually, you’ll make eating more slowly not only a habit, but part of your lifestyle. Try doing this with some Chocolate Peanut Butter Pretzel Bark. YUM!
7. Keep your hands full. If you’re drinking alcohol, hold one glass of the hard stuff to keep you buzzed and one glass of water to keep you hydrated. Without an extra hand, you may pass on that unhealthy appetizer you really didn’t want anyway. I love sipping on a crisp glass of sparkling water with a squeeze of lime and cherry. For an extra flair, see if the bar has a sprig of rosemary to make it fun to drink and festive! Your body will thank you the morning after, too.
8. Swap out and healthify. Baking some holiday treats? Simple swaps can do a body really, really good. Try switching out the white sugar with natural sweeteners like coconut palm sugar, dates, honey or maple syrup. Your pumpkin pie will turn out just as sweet, and without the processed sugar. Try this recipe for Butternut Squash Soup using almond milk and maple syrup, instead of cream and sugar.
9. Be well. The holidays are all about celebration, happiness and friends and family. Focus on taking care of you, first so you’ll feel your best, look your best, and be your best version of yourself.
Happy (and healthy) holidays!