As you head into the last few weeks of this year’s holiday season, it may be tempting to throw low-carb eating (and any type of exercise) out the window as you operate in pure survival mode, marching through your holiday to do list with frantic intensity. This year, take a moment give yourself a very important gift; that of health and time. By taking a little extra time to ensure you get a few moments of healthy activity each day and have some low-carb snacks and meals on hand, you will have that much more energy to say no to the Santa cookies at your kid’s class party or that extra glass of eggnog at your office holiday party. In fact, you may find you have more energy, period, to tackle all the extra chores that seem to add up at this time of the year. Here’s are some other strategies that have always worked for me:
Stock Up. Make sure your favorite low-carb staples are still a part of your weekly shopping list, and keep snacks and quick-and-easy low-carb meals on hand for when the cravings hit.
Spoil Your Appetite! If tempting goodies are too hard to turn away from, focus on spoiling your appetite before you head out to that holiday party or dinner. Fortify yourself with a filling Atkins-friendly snack before you go. My favorite snacks are almonds and strawberries, Cheddar cheese with some strips of red pepper or, of course, an Atkins Advantage bar or a shake. Or you could a have a small low-carb meal, such as a chef salad topped with grilled chicken. You can also heat up one of Atkins new frozen meals, for a hot and delicious low-carb meal, even when you’re on the run. The combination of a small amount of carbs with either fat or protein will stabilize your blood sugar so you don’t arrive famished. That way, you’ll have the physical backup to your mental fortitude so you can pass up holiday foods that are not on your low-carb meal plan.
Hold the Booze. When alcoholic beverages are being served, limit yourself to a glass (or two at the most) of wine or one glass of spirits. That’s assuming that you are out of Induction, of course. Just be sure to have your spirits with water or a mixer made without sugar in any form.
Plan Ahead for Atkins-Friendly Festivities. There can be many Atkins-friendly options at holiday functions. Stick to the roast turkey, ham, roast beef, salmon filet or other protein dishes, as well as tossed salads and “foundation vegetables.” If you’re in the later phases of Atkins, have modest portions of sweet potatoes, carrots, or other starchy veggies—or even some whole-grain bread. You may want to sneak in an Endulge bar for your dessert. At sit-down meals, there’s no rule against simply not serving yourself a food you want to stay away from. If your hostess insists, take a small portion, have a tiny taste and leave it at that. And for any of these occasions, you can always bring in some of your favorite Atkins-friendly party dishes, holiday meals or side dishes. Your friends and family will love the taste, and if you don’t tell them, they may never know they are even low-carb. Or if you tell them, they may be convinced to try Atkins with you.
Get Real. No matter how “good” you are when it comes to holiday temptations; the reality is that you’ll probably take in a few extra carbs. The best way to deal with that is to get up the next morning and get back on track. The worst thing you can do is wallow in guilt and decide that you’ve blown it and need to wait until after the holidays to get serious about your weight. There’s nothing like some hearty exercise to make you feel good about yourself and help you renew your commitment.
Enjoy this time of the year, and remember what is important: family, friends, your holiday traditions and the memories you create. Follow the previous tips as well, and you will be well on your way to a healthy and happy New Year.