It's that time of year when I feel like I'm somewhere between a donut and a juice cleanse. I'm guessing you can relate???

I always start the day with good healthy intentions.  I have a good breakfast, I pack some healthy snacks, I plan lunch and dinner, especially if I'm eating out, so I know how many calories I'll eat, etc.

And then some well meaning saboteur will plop down (on my desk) a piece of chocolate, or worse a box of chocolate, a giant fresh cookie or the evil of all evils, a red velvet cupcake!  All under the guise of Happy Holiday's!  Could someone just leave me an apple?

I think about this and wonder how far back did our brain washing begin that we were led to believe that these decadent yummy tasting treats were good for us!? Growing up getting a treat meant ice cream smothered in crunched up potato chips (I know, weird, but very tasty). No one ever said "wow you got an A, here's a scrumptious piece of broccoli".  So we adjust, we know that some things just taste amazing going down only to be not so amazing a few hours later when your body says "what the hell?"  I remember watching Little House on The Prairie and even as a kid knowing that if Laura Engels didn't stop licking that tree of maple syrup she would get a whopping tummy ache.

This is also the time of year when people tend to catch colds, there's holiday stress, too many parties, and way too much sugar. So let's think in terms of supporting our immune system.  No one's looking for perfection this time of year, after all, Tis' The Season, but with a few swaps and tweaks hopefully you can stay healthy and ring in the new year with gusto!

Holiday Swaps and Tweaks
  1. If you are heading to a late dinner or party don't sabotage yourself by arriving starving so you attack whatever is available first, which is usually a bread basket! Have a salad or some protein like some nuts, a slice of chicken or turkey or a hard boiled egg before you leave the house.
  2. And speaking of the bread basket, try to skip it, especially as an appetizer because once you get to dinner the sugar those rolls turned to will have spiked and dropped your blood sugar leading you to over eat. Swap the dinner rolls for the veggies and dip (go light on the dip).
  3. Also, and I am speaking as someone who could easily consume an entire bread basket, it's about balance, if you're a bread lover save it for bread that's really worth it to you. For me that would be pretzel bread or an amazing french baguette. Don't waste the binge on packaged or frozen dinner rolls!
  4. If potatoes are an option and you're given the choice, go with sweet potatoes over white potatoes for more nutrition.
  5. Egg Nog is a disaster in calories, fat and sugar. Swap it out for sugar free hot chocolate.
  6. Do not be fooled by Sparkling Cider, unfortunately it's full of sugar, go with sparking water with a twist of lemon or lime.
  7. Go light on things with sauce and gravy.
  8. Not to be overly scientific but it's factual that your brain takes about 20 minutes to let your stomach know it's full so a neat trick at a buffet is to use a smaller plate giving your brain time to catch up.
  9. Cheese still tastes pretty good sans the crackers.
  10. It's great if you can pass on the desert, but if you can't (cause that's really hard!) pick one, yes just one!
  11. If you know you will be eating a large holiday meal in the evening try to focus on healthy light mini meals during the day.
  12. Be aware of how many calories and how much sugar is in a cocktail.  Choose wisely. Personally I'd rather eat my calories.
  13. Don't skip your workouts, even if all you have time for is shopping, park farther away from the entrance to the mall!  Think of everything you consume as needing to be burned off.

photos via pinterest

So from this day on I will give away every treat that hits my desk, unless it's the apple. These are just tips I think are helpful. I'm not a nutritionist, I'm just a woman trying to be healthy and not drag unwanted pounds with me into the new year. Cheers!