For some it’s those dang Little Debbie Christmas Tree Cakes. For others, homemade spicy trail mix. And who can resist a good dressing with homemade gravy? Not me! But just like with the holiday gatherings, the “special treats” go from an occasional splurge to a habit this time of year.
They are the first (and probably last) thing you see in the grocery store and what you’ve been looking forward to for the last 300 days. I get it. Can you temporarily add these things to your diet without adding to your waistline? I think so!
Just Don’t Buy Them
The easiest way to avoid overdoing it on seasonal treats is to simply not purchase them. Duh. If you don’t have it in your house, you won’t eat it. If you have small children and want to provide the treat for them, fine. But put them away – in the pantry, at the back…on top of the fridge…whatever works for you. That way if you really want the treat, you have to work for it.
If you see a bunch of Peppermint Candy Cane Hershey Kisses sitting in a pretty Christmas dish on the counter…well…you know what happens. You grab one here. And there. And before long, you’ve had 300 extra calories (that’s only 12 little pieces of candy). Do you know how to burn 300 calories? Jump rope for 30 minutes. Yeah…no. Out of sight. Out of mind. Trust me.
I may sound like a broken record, but it’s true! The more you are hydrating, the less likely you’ll be feeling like you need to splurge on special snacks. (And as I mentioned previously, it can help with navigating those holiday parties as well.) It helps you think clearer, make better decisions, and even feel fuller. Drink your water!
Have a Warm Drink
In addition to drinking water, making yourself a warm drink may help curve those cravings for special holiday treats. There are all kinds of fun, holiday tea choices that may help! Put it in your favorite seasonal mug, make it fancy. Not into tea? Try a sugar-free version of hot chocolate or cidar. These kinds of drinks feel indulgent but aren’t and will help you stay within your calories goal.
Be Prepared with Healthy Snacks
Set out healthy snack choices instead of (or beside) your seasonal treats. You may end up choosing that Little Debbie Christmas Tree on a Monday, but Tuesday, you may just pick up that apple instead. Grab a package of healthy nuts to snack on instead of (or before) you start in on that spicy trail mix. Also, the holidays are a great time to look up healthy snack alternatives. You may just surprise yourself and find something that you love more than your previous go-to grabs for the season.
90% Healthy Choices
Ok so let’s just say…that you had the Little Debbie Christmas Tree afterall. It’s okay. Don’t panic. It’s about 300 calories. You can make this up in other ways throughout the day in your diet. Don’t add the creamer to your coffee; use almond or coconut milk instead. Watch your portions. Maybe eat only 2/3 of your normal portion of carbs at dinner. Don’t have that second beer. You can cut 100 calories from each of your larger meals and make up for the treat that you enjoyed! Just try to make healthy choices 90% of the time and it will pay off.
Offset it with Exercise
So diet control isn’t your thing. Me either. If you know you’re indulging in an extra 300 to 500 calories a day, make it up with movement! This is by far harder than cutting out the extra calories in your diet, but, it’s an option. If you’re a runner, you can burn 300 to 500 calories over 3 to 5 miles. You can also use cardio machines like an eliptical or rower. Another option is to do a high intensity class at a gym. (Check out our schedule at Impact Fitness.) In these 45-60 minute classes, depending on the programming, you can burn close to that if you work really really hard! It will be worth it!