Let's face it; the holidays can be tough on your waistline. Get-togethers begin with a table full of high calorie snacks then an epic meal that has you feeling a few pounds heavier at the end of the night. Indulging a little can be ok but many people struggle with figuring out how to find the right balance. This can cause some stress over food choices which takes away some of the fun from holiday meals.
Here are some tips to enjoying the festivities without getting too sidetracked from your fitness goals.
1. Low Calorie Swaps
There are lots of substitutions you can make to lower the overall calories of the meals you eat over the holidays.If you’re cooking any meals, some quick swaps you can make include:
- Using cooking sprays over oils or butter.
- Putting the dressing on the side for dishes whenever possible.
- Baking, roasting, or using an air fryer over a traditional fryer.
- Using zero calorie sugar substitutes like stevia or monk fruit.
- Having fruit or veggie trays as snacking options.
If you’re not preparing any dishes and want some ideas of easy swaps you can make, some options include:
- Choosing leaner cuts of protein.
- Eating smaller portion sizes of higher calorie dishes (fried foods, dishes with heavy sauces, desserts).
- Filling 1/3 to ½ your plate with high-fiber vegetables.
- Drinking zero calorie drinks instead of high sugar beverages.
Small substitutes go a long way when it comes to shaving off additional calories.
2. Skip Leftovers
Whether you’re cooking or only attending a party, you’ll want to limit the number of leftovers you keep in your fridge. Why? Having fewer leftovers of high calorie dishes limits the chances you have of having additional cheat meals or cheat days after the holiday is over. By creating an environment where you have less access to high calorie foods, you’re less tempted to stray from your normal diet plan. Indulge a little and then get back to your routine the next day.
3. Holiday Workout
An intense holiday workout can help you burn up extra calories. If you choose to do a weightlifting workout, your body will be primed to use the extra nutrients to help it repair and recover. If your gym is closed on holidays, no worries, there’s still plenty of intense workouts you can do with minimal, or no equipment needed. If you need some inspiration, check out our EMOM blog for some examples of quick and intense workouts.
4. IIFYM - If It Fits Your Macros
Macronutrients (or macros) are nutrients your body uses for energy and needs to function properly. The three macronutrients are proteins, carbohydrates, and fats.; protein and carbohydrates are 4 calories per gram while fats are 9 calories per gram. While it isn’t a macronutrient because your body doesn’t need it to function, alcohol is about 7 calories per gram. You can adjust your daily macros to fit in some cheat foods. Body composition ultimately comes down to caloric balance, if you eat an excess of calories, you’ll gain weight and if you eat a deficit, you’ll lose weight.
Think of balancing your macros and daily calories like you would a budget. You can adjust the number of calories you eat during your meals earlier in the day, so you have extra calories to spare at dinner. Now this doesn’t mean you should deprive yourself of food during these earlier meals. Your goal should be to still aim for your overall daily intake of macronutrients, fitting a day’s worth of protein into one meal just isn’t practical. Instead, set up your day so that your daily protein intake is divided up evenly between each of your meals. You’ll want to focus on low calorie, high fiber vegetables as your sides for breakfast and lunch. This should open space in your budget for more carbohydrates and fats at dinner. You may go slightly over your macros at the end of the day but not by much if you stick to this plan.
These types of calories sneak up on you in foods that you’d least expect. Dressings or toppings can quickly spike the calorie amount of normally low-calorie foods like a mixed green salad. Some extra dollops of whip cream could turn your small dessert into a calorie bomb. It’s easy to overindulge on these types of foods because they’re often afterthoughts to the main dishes. That doesn’t mean you have to avoid any of these foods, just be aware that these calories also count.
6. Stay Hydrated with XTEND Original
Liquid calories in the form of sodas, juices, or cocktails can quickly add up and have you overshooting your daily macronutrient goals. If you’d rather eat your holiday calories in the form of desserts and sides rather than drinks, one easy strategy is to sip on a shaker full of XTEND Original. There’s zero sugar, zero carbohydrates, and zero calories in every delicious serving of XTEND Original.
7. Guilt Free Bake Off with XTEND Pro
Another easy hack to satisfy your cravings without going overboard on calories is using XTEND Pro to make your favorite desserts. Available in several delicious flavors, all with less than 150 calories per serving, XTEND Pro contains 25 g of high-quality 100% whey protein isolate. Whether you’re craving brownies, cookies, cakes, or muffins, we’ve got an XTEND Pro recipe for you.