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With Easter on the horizon, yet another delicious holiday meal is in our near future. Although Easter doesn’t tend to be as large of a food festival as Thanksgiving or Christmas, it still tends to be a day of more than average caloric intake. First of all, if you plan to take a small hiatus from your nutrition plan to have a cheat meal…or even a cheat day, that is perfectly fine--you deserve it after all of the hard work you have been putting into your goals. Now, if you’re someone who still aims to stick to your regimen during this upcoming holiday meal then more power to you, and here are six ways that will help you stay on track.
1. Choose the healthier holiday meal choices.
Despite popular belief, many traditional holiday foods actually do provide quality macro-nutrients (protein, fat, and carbohydrates). Chicken, lamb, boiled eggs, pork, ham, sweet potato, roasted small potatoes with skin on, vegetables, and salad will allow you to partake in the Easter festivities while maintaining your nutrition plan.
2. Skip the breadbasket.
Yes, starting a meal off with the breadbasket is standard protocol during most meals (not just during the holidays) but two pieces of bread with butter means 400 calories before the real meal even begins! You can still be social during the pre-meal noshing with a small dinner salad, deviled eggs, or veggies dipped in hummus or guacamole Getting some greens in while you’re hungry is your best bet! A little too boring? Even a glass of red wine with a piece of dark chocolate or cheese won’t sabotage the day.
3. Boil your sweet potatoes.
The Glycemic Index measures carbohydrate foods in terms of how quickly they convert to sugar. Interestingly enough, the composition of some carbohydrate foods is altered with particular preparation styles. Boiling sweet potatoes (as opposed to roasting) will cut the Glycemic Index almost in half. This means the boiled sweet potato won’t raise your blood sugar in the same manner that roasted sweet potatoes do, so you can still enjoy this holiday staple without the guilt.
4. Low-carb mashed cauliflower.
If you’re a mashed potato lover but not a lover of excessive carbohydrates that come along with the dish, simply replace them with mashed cauliflower. It’s a filling a delicious side that is very similar in taste and consistency to mashed potatoes, but with a fraction of the carbohydrates. Simply steam your cauliflower until tender and mash it with grated Parmesan cheese until you have reached a mashed potato consistency and voila!
5. Water and Wine
Drinking calories really adds up, especially during a several hour meal-based event. Stick to water or sparkling water with a slice of lime throughout the day to avoid the drinkable calories that do really add up. Now if you’re wanting to socialize with an adult beverage, a glass of wine is only around 120 calories and believe it or not, wine is very low in sugar. One glass of red has only one to two grams of sugar, while one glass of white (not a sweet variety) has only three to four grams of sugar.
6. Eat your breakfast.
A lot of people tend to skip breakfast on the morning before a large holiday meal in hopes to save some calories but plan is likely to backfire. Starving yourself all morning and into the afternoon can result in a blood sugar crash which, in turn, leads to excessive indulging. Having a sensible high-protein, low-carb breakfast will help to keep you satiated which will prevent unnecessary overeating.
Of course the holidays are for having fun and enjoying yourself, so if you maintain balanced nutrition on a regular basis then splurging for a meal (or two) will not hurt your goals, as long as you return to your good habits after the splurge. Once you jump back on that wagon, be sure to return to the low-calorie, low-carbohydrate, and high-protein meals you can find here!