Eating Clean Through the Holidays

table with holiday style foodThe holidays are famous for key ingredients like turkey, stuffing, football, family and fun. But even with so much to be grateful for, there’s also winter weight gain to watch out for.

Since it all starts with a Thanksgiving feast, during which average Americans may eat up to 4,500 calories and 229 fat grams, it’s a good time to take a look at how a clean eating approach can serve you this season.

Also, come to our Holiday Clean Eating Seminar at our Member Appreciation Holiday Party on Monday, November 30th to learn more ways to minimize problems eating your way clean through the season—with recipes included. Ask your Fitness Manager for the seminar time.

A Simple Strategy

  • An easy-to-handle strategy for maintaining during this season, without feeling deprived, is to: use a version of the “80/20 rule” to manage your holiday food and drink intake. In addition to that, adopt an eating style that is “clean” – meaning, choose whole, natural foods, as close to their original forms as possible, when eating.
  • All in all, a clean eating style is pretty simple. In fact, the less you mess with your foods, the better. But it’s not always easy to find these kinds of choices, especially over the holidays. That’s where the 80/20 rule can come in handy.
  • This approach will have you eating clean and healthy 80% of the time or with 80% of your food, and the other 20% can be used for your “cheat” days and/or elements of your meal that may not be what we’d consider clean eating.
  • That 20% can make its way into what you eat for a week or a month, in the form of “free” days that you don’t worry about the quality of foods you’re eating. At holiday time, that can work out very well on those days you have parties or events planned.
  • Another way to slice your 80/20 is on each plate. If your meal includes the vast majority of clean, whole foods, you can use your 20% for other items that don’t fit that profile.
Here are three ways your eating plan can work with the 80/20 /clean eating combo:

  1. A big hearty meal can consist of 80% lean tasty meat, veggies and even a baked sweet potato. The 20% might consist of your condiments, like the canned soup in your green bean casserole and some toasty marshmallows on your yams.
  2. You could make it a point to eat a healthy meal before a special occasion and save the 20% portion of your intake for the day for the dessert and a cocktail you know you’ll want to enjoy at the party.
  3. You might look ahead to your calendar and plan those days that will need to be saved for your 20%. Basically, every 10 days or so can bring you two days that you’re eating what you want.

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