While everyone is excited for the holiday season, I have heard a lot of talk about dreading the traditional holiday weight-gain. It seems like every year we leave the dinner table feeling stuffed, exhausted, and even grumpy.
This year I wanted to share my tips for preparing a beautiful holiday meal and staying healthy through the holidays.
Start every morning with a cup of hot water and fresh lemon. The lemon helps detox and cleanse your system while preparing you for the day. Also, drink 3/4 your body weight in ounces of water. (So if you weigh 150 lbs, try to drink 100 oz of water during the day.) Sometimes hunger is really just a sign of dehydration. If you find yourself munching on cookies or quiches all day, try slowing down and drinking some water instead. If you are properly hydrated you may be less inclined to sit at the snack bar all afternoon. End your day the same way you started - with hot water and lemon.
Bonus tip: If you're fighting a cold, add fresh ginger, a pinch of cayenne, and a teaspoon of local honey to your hot lemon water. It will knock the cold out so quickly!
2. Eat fresh!
Sure, our holiday meals can be full of vegetables. But we typically mess it up by adding so much salt and butter. While snacking, stick to the fresh fruit and veggies tray (and skip the sauces). Load up on apple slices, carrots, cucumber, broccoli, etc. By eating the healthy foods first, you'll be less inclined to chow down on all the other "treats". You'd be surprised how many hidden calories are in all those cheese cubes and bite size snacks. Don't start your day weighed down by these foods, but only munch on the food that will leave you feeling energized and ready for the real meal.
When it comes to the actual Thanksgiving meal, try steaming your veggies like broccoli, green beans, carrots, and cauliflower. Opt for fresh lemon juice and garlic instead of butter. If you must, try some coconut oil and sea salt.
This year, instead of opening up a bunch of cans, try making your dishes with fresh, real ingredients. Your taste buds will notice the difference and you’ll feel better.
Hard liquor is hard on your body. It dehydrates, slows your metabolism, and is difficult for your body to process. Most holiday drinks will be full of dairy, sugars, a tons of calories. If you’re going to drink, skip the booze and stick to a glass of red wine.
Daily exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It gets the blood flowing, the endorphins going, and helps give you energy throughout the day. How about taking a walk after Thanksgiving dinner? Start your day with a little yoga, play basketball in the driveway, take the dogs for a jog… just get moving! If you’re in Houston for turkey day, join me and my family for the Turkey Trot that morning!
5. Ditch the turkey!
Just one patty of turkey meat contains 244 grams of cholesterol and half of its calories are from fat. The factory farming of turkeys is one of the most disgusting farming that happens in America. They live for months in crammed sheds filled with ammonia, with their beaks and toes cut off, until they die a bloody and painful death. Yuck. They are filled with antibiotics to kill germs and stimulate their growth, but this affects the meat that you eat. Leading health organizations—including the World Health Organization, the American Medical Association, and the American Public Health Association—have warned that the farmed-animal industry is creating possible long-term risks to human health and will spread antibiotic-resistant supergerms. That’s why the use of drugs to promote growth in animals used for food is banned in Europe.
If skipping the turkey sounds silly to you, eat just a little of it and try to fill up on the healthier dishes.
6. Be thankful.
Remember… the Thanksgiving experience is about so much more than food. Enjoy your time off work, have a meaningful conversation with your family, go outside and soak up the fall weather. Be thankful for your health. Be thankful for your family and friends. Be thankful for where you are and who you are. The holiday season is a wonderful time of year to focus on what really matters.
Tomorrow I’ll be posting several holiday recipes for your Thanksgiving meal. Come back for simple recipes for breakfast, the main meal, and dessert!