We are just 6 weeks to Christmas and the holiday parties are just starting to be planned. This year, even with Covid still around, I believe we will have more opportunities to spend time with loved ones and friends. Needless to say, I’m sure that you will want to avoid holiday weight gain as you enjoy the company of family and friends.
Here are 9 easy ways to avoid holiday weight gain this 2021 Christmas Season:
1. Never starve yourself the day of a big dinner.
So many people have the idea that if they “save up their calories” for the dinner, they will start with a calorie deficit that will allow them to eat more. This actually really messes up your metabolism and creates uneven blood sugar. Instead, I suggest you eat a normal low glycemic breakfast and lunch then, 30 minutes to an hour before you leave for the event have a balanced snack before you go. Make sure your snack has some protein and essential fatty acids included with your carbs. This might be some veggies with hummus, an apple, and some almonds or ½ c of plain yogurt with some berries. You’ll arrive at the party feeling great and won’t attack the appie table with vengeance.
2. When having alcohol make sure you eat something as well.
If you drink wine, beer, or hard liquor on an empty stomach it will cause your blood sugar to spike over the top, only to come crashing down within an hour.
3. Choose your Christmas cocktails wisely.
Rum and eggnog will pack on over 400 calories. Try to stick to red wine or light beer with a glass of sparkling water in between. The water will fill you up as a bonus so you won’t be tempted to go overboard.
4. Drink water with half lemon or lime in the morning and throughout the day.
Not only does the lemon or lime water alkalize your system but it actually detoxifies your body at the same time.
5. Christmas Appetizers can load on the pounds.
Most Christmas frozen appetizers are loaded with unhealthy ingredients. Why not create an appie veggie tray with your favorite protein-filled dip.
6. Keep Exercising during the Holidays.
If you are short of time, shorten your home or gym strength workouts by super setting or circuiting your exercises, with no rest in between. Outside, if the weather allows, speed up your walking or biking or if the weather is bad, increase the incline on a treadmill to simulate hills when running. Schedule 30 minutes of vigorous exercise into your calendar 5 days a week.
7. Enjoy some relaxation time
There are so many extra things to do at this time of the year which can add a significant amount of stress to your already busy days. Stress increases our Cortisol levels, which in turn, causes us to create extra fat, especially around our mid-section. Make sure you take some time to unwind at the end of the day. You will sleep & feel so much better!
8. Keep healthy holiday treats where you will be tempted.
Purchase some special holiday goodies like Asian oranges, pomegranates, pistachios, walnuts, and holiday spiced tea.
9. Hide your holiday baking.
Everybody loves Christmas baking, myself included. I just finished baking a batch of Christmas Cookies and Christmas Breads for gifting. If I leave them in plain sight, I will be very tempted to nibble on them often. Into the freezer, they went, in sealed containers. I will not take them out till I’m ready to give them away. Out of sight, out of mind LOL!
Here’s a delicious Protein full dip that goes great on a veggie tray.
Garbanzo Bean Puree with Basil Pesto
Silky bean puree topped with brightly flavored pesto makes a festive dip. (For silkiest texture, use organic canned beans.) Components can be prepared ahead and stored in the refrigerator, leaving time to focus on other dishes on the day of your dinner. Bring the pesto to room temperature before serving. Light green celery leaves are a delicious alternative to baby arugula. Try carrots, celery, cauliflower, broccoli, endive spears, fennel, cherry tomatoes, or gluten-free multigrain tortilla chips for dippers. Leftover dip makes a satisfying lunch spread on toasted corn tortillas, topped with sautéed chopped greens.
3 tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds
2 tablespoons chopped garlic
¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 cups basil leaves, packed
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
-Freshly ground black pepper
Garbanzo Bean Puree
Half a small white onion, chopped finely
2 (15-ounce) cans Garbanzo beans, preferably organic, drained, liquid reserved
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1½ tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Lemon zest from 1 lemon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt-Freshly ground black pepper
-Vegetables and gluten-free tortilla chips, for dipping
Place pumpkin seeds, garlic, and ¼ teaspoon salt in a food processor or blender and process to grind to make the pesto. Add chopped fresh basil. With the machine running, pour in oil, stopping as soon as all the oil is added. Mix in lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer pesto to a covered container.
To make the Garbanzo bean puree, mince the small white onion and pour into blender or food processor. Add drained beans, oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, and cayenne pepper and blend until smooth. If necessary, add reserved bean liquid, 1 tablespoon at a time, to reach a creamy consistency. Add extra sea salt and pepper, to taste.
Place bean puree in a shallow serving dish and drizzle the pesto over it. Serve with fresh vegetables and gluten-free tortilla chips for dipping
TIP No need to wash your blender or food processor between making the pesto and bean puree. Any bits of pesto remaining in the bowl add extra flavor to the puree.
Note: Homemade or Store-bought pesto works with this recipe