Healthy Holiday Eating Made Easy

Posted On Dec 10, 2013 By Vito La Fata

healthy diet

Your best intentions for healthy eating during the week can easily go astray if they haven't been planned out for all the potential pitfalls that your day inevitably throws your way.

Especially during the holidays.

It's not always possible to plan for all the mayhem of kids, the chaos of work, the reality of family, guests and holiday gift baskets full of goodies. Life is going to throw curve balls at you in big ways, and you can either learn how to swing better or seemingly always strike out on your fitness goals.

Following are some common problems and solutions to keep you on track:

Problem: You leave meal planning to the last minute and have to make due with what's around.

Solution: Plan ahead and have the fridge stocked with fruits, veggies and lean protein, and the cupboards stacked with healthy whole grains (you can also try gluten free).

Problem: You leave the house and don't have food with you.

Solution: Take packets of meal replacements, or carry food in containers with you.

Here's a simple plan that will only take you 2 to 8 minutes a day and improve your healthy living batting average. It's the 8:2-Minute Plan. I retrieved some of the information for this plan from a blog post by Keri Glassman, MS, RD, CDN, founder of Nutritious Life, and added a bit of my own input.

Step 1: Set aside 8 minutes to strategize meals for the week.

You can do this typically each night so you know what you're having for breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner.

You don't have to cook in those 8 minutes, although you can. I've gotten some meals down to 2 minutes of prep! Those 8 minutes are more about mental prep and jotting down what you need and notes for the next few days to come.

Step 2: Think of your H2O.

Most people are walking around in a constant state of dehydration and don't even know it. And what's crazier is that 82% of all headaches are due to dehydration!

Here's a simple plan for drinking the right amount of water each day:

  1. Wake up and have 16 ounces of water. (You are dehydrated from sleep. Flush out your body right away. Before having coffee)
  2. Eat breakfast (should be eaten within 30 – 60 minutes after waking up).
  3. An hour later have another 8 ounces.
  4. Before your first snack of the day have 8 ounces.
  5. Before lunch, have another 16 ounces, This will also help curb your appetite so you eat less.
  6. An hour later have 8 ounces of water.
  7. Before your afternoon snack have 8 ounces of water.
  8. An hour later have 8 ounces.
  9. Before dinner, have 16 ounces of water. This will also help curb appetite so you eat less.
  10. An hour later or before going to bed, have another 8 ounces.

That will be a total of 96 ounces – a decent base for you to work off of as mandatory hydration.

If you are working out, you will want to increase your water intake to 120 ounces, at least.

Step 3: Write out your challenges for the week, such as holiday parties, birthdays, happy hours, business meetings, etc., and then write down a plan to overcome the challenges.

Step 4: Write a list of work snacks, and add them to your grocery list. Then schedule your trip to the store and only get what's on the list.

Step 5: Prepare some lemon or lime water in a pitcher in the fridge so its easy to grab your water. Plus, with fresh lemon or lime you get to add alkaline to the body and keep the pH balance in check.

Chop veggies, precook chicken and cut up into strips. Portion out your snacks into little bags or Tupperware.

Benefits: You will save money on your expenses, trim time off your week and reduce the stress on your body and system as you unclutter your life from unhealthy patterns. Plus your body will thank you and look great in the mirror and in your clothes- even during the holidays.