Healthy Holidays: How to beat the sweet tooth and overeating

It’s that wonderful time of the year! Thanksgiving is this week and Christmas is right around the corner.  It’s also that time of year where many people gain weight because of all the delicious and savory foods and snacks around them. 

If you’re like me, I LOVE sweets.  Give me all the cookies and chocolate, please!  Here are my top tips for beating the sweet tooth cravings and overeating:

  1. Don’t go more than 3-4 hours without eating. Make sure to include protein and fiber in your snacks.  
  2. Decrease the amount of salt or sodium you consume.
  3. Drink plenty of water.
  4. If you are craving sugary foods, try eating some fruit.  Most fruits are pretty sweet and it's a better choice overall.
  5. Practice mindful eating.  Are you reaching for more chocolate or pie because you are hungry or because you are stressed?  Or bored? Emotional eating is a hard thing to break.  Whether it's stress or anxiety, emotional eating can definitely lead to overeating.
  6. Don’t overly restrict yourself. It isn't necessary for weight loss and can actually backfire if you end up binge eating because you feel like you can't eat everything you want.
  7. When you finish your meal, before going for another helping, ask yourself, am I still hungry?  Wait 10-15 minutes and drink some water, if you are still feeling hungry then go back for a second helping. 
  8. Watch your portions.  I’ll admit, I am one of those who loves to have almost half my plate with mashed potatoes.  It’s one of my favorite holiday foods! Make sure you have large portions of vegetables. And if there are 3 desserts, try to choose one.  If you have to try more than one, make sure to take smaller portion sizes of each. 

Here are some snacks that can satisfy the sweet tooth but are on the healthier side: 70% cocoa chocolate, almond butter on a rice cake,  banana or apple with almond butter, or a fruit shake with protein whey. 

Indulging in one meal on Thanksgiving and Christmas isn't going to do the damage.  But eating poorly the entire month of December along with little to no exercise definitely will. 

I’ve always found the 80/20 rule to work for me.  Focus on eating healthy, clean foods 80% of the time and 20% of the time indulge in what you love that may not be the healthiest.  You cannot completely restrict yourself from the foods you enjoy- that is not healthy or realistic in my opinion.

So enjoy the holiday meals with family, because it’s just one day.  And then the following day you can get right back on track.  That’s the mentality I follow and it works.  I know I will enjoy my mashed potatoes and apple pie, but unfortunately not every day for the remainder of the year. 

Happy Thanksgiving, Mama! 

 For more tips on healthy eating and exercise, come join us in the Healthy Mama Huddle!