December 14, 2021 3 min read
No matter how dedicated you are to your meal prepping and fitness routine during the rest of the year, the holiday season tends to be a little bit more of a challenge. Even the most dedicated among us usually don’t love the idea of skipping out on the treats, meals, and desserts that only come around during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
But luckily, healthy meal prep and the holidays don’t have to automatically cancel each other out – it just takes a little bit of planning. Here’s how to stay on track and keep up with your meal prep plan through the holidays and beyond.
If your holiday season tends to be full of parties, gatherings, and potlucks, you may find that your carefully curated meal prep menu tends to fall to the wayside more often than not. After all, it’s hard to stay on track when you’re surrounded by people who are enjoying a delicious buffet of holiday treats!
So the best way to deal with this common holiday hang-up is to bring foods along with you that fit into your meal prep plan. Think light appetizers and snacks – for example, a charcuterie board with plenty of fruit and nut options, or a fancy salad with dressings on the side. You can also chip into the dessert table and bring your own batch of lightened-up desserts. By contributing foods to the table that actually fit into your diet, you’ll be able to participate in the party and not feel like you’re missing out!
It’s not always a possibility, but if you’re going to a party or gathering where the focus is less on food and more on people, try eating your healthy meal prior to leaving your house. Make sure it’s a filling and satisfying meal (think fibrous veggies, complex carbs, and a good serving of lean protein). This way, you’ll be less tempted to indulge on food that doesn’t fit into your meal prep plan and be able to concentrate more on the real reason for celebrating – the people around you!
Similarly, you’ll want to make sure that you’re not going into a party with a ravenous and empty stomach. It’s a common mistake that many people make when they know they’re going to a holiday party: instead of eating regularly throughout the day, they “save” calories for the big meal later in the day by skipping eating in the morning and afternoon. Unfortunately, depriving yourself of nutrients during the day usually leads to overindulging later since you’re so hungry.
Instead, eat the rest of the day as you normally do and fill up on nutritious fiber-rich foods to stay full. You’ll be able to make more rational decisions that align with your health goals.
Preparation is one of the keys to staying on track, especially when it comes to the temptation of the holiday season. To avoid surprises that could derail your progress, see if you can find out what’s on the menu before going. You’ll be able to make better decisions about how you can make those meals fit into your diet and the rest of your meal prep plan.
Just because you’re meal prepping doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the flavors of the season!
Use turkey, cranberry, mashed potatoes, hams, etc, and pair with fresh veggies for a holiday feast that doesn’t get in the way of your goals. Meal prepping can also be a great way to cope with any leftovers – simply divide them up into reasonable portions so that you can enjoy responsibly throughout the rest of the week without guilt.
It can be easy to get carried away with all the sweets, treats, and alcohol that are present during holiday parties. They might seem like little and unimportant indulgences, but it can quickly add up if you keep going back for seconds and thirds.
Remember, portioning is one of the cornerstones of meal prep – so use that same mentality when it comes to all those holiday extras. Give yourself a set portion and stick to it, slowing down and enjoying it so that you can reap all the satisfaction without going overboard.
Break the cycle this year and stay on track all the way through New Year’s by planning ahead and finding ways to make your meal prep a priority.
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