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How to eat clean during the Holidays

As the holidays get closer, you feel an overwhelming feeling of joy knowing what they bring. You will get to spend more time with your family, hopefully be able to take some time off work, and participate in your annual traditions that occur around this time. Unfortunately, another thing that tends to happen every year during the holiday season is dealing with weight gain.Whether you are trying to lose weight or simply avoid weight gain, the holidays can be a real struggle. So many of the parties, activities, and traditions involve food, and usually not healthy food. This makes it feel as if avoiding weight gain isa complete lost cause as you try to get through Halloween, Thanksgiving,Christmas or Hanukkah if that is what you celebrate.Luckily, hope is not lost. There are still some ways you can avoid gaining weight and even lose a few pounds during the holiday season. Follow these tips and suggestions, and remember that you don’t have to be miserable during the holidays or feel like you are being left out just because you don’t want to gain weight. START EATING HEALTHY BEFORE THE HOLIDAYS. One of the hardest things to do is actually start eating healthy right when the holidays begin. If you are not in the practice of watching what you eat, looking at portions, and trying to hold off on certain types of foods and sweets, it can be a real challenge to avoid holiday weight gain. Instead of waiting until the holidays have already started to rethink how you eat and what your diet should consist of,start eating healthy well before they begin.It is never too soon to start eating better, so start today. Stop waiting until the perfect day of the week, the first day of the month, or the new year. You know what happens when you wait until January 1st? Not only have you gained weight over the holidays so that you have more weight to lose, but you might have been drinking and partying on New Years’ Eve, so the last thing you want to do is get up to exercise and start your brand new healthy life on the first. This starts a really bad habit of constantly trying to find the perfect day. Start right now looking up what healthy eating lifestyle you want to follow, get some recipes created, and don’t hesitate to make the switch to a healthier lifestyle. Get your family involved, and it will be that much easier.

FOCUS ON HEALTH, NOT ‘DIETING’Another thing you may struggle with when the holidays begin is feeling like you are missing out when you can’t eat what everyone else is eating. If this is one of your biggest problems, then what you want to do is change your entire thought process. You are probably under the misconception that avoiding weight gain and being healthy means starving yourself and doing without. You don’t have to live on water and carrot sticks just to lose weight or avoid weight gain whenChristmas is around the corner. Don’t think about this as a “diet”, since that seems to be a dirty word that can give you the wrong impression. Instead, tell yourself you are going to be healthier during the holiday season and really focus on that. Don’t count calories, carbs, or fat grams in your food, but look at the ingredients and consider whether or not it contains any nutrients. Every time you are deciding what to eat, think about your health and decide how many superfoods it contains, if it is going to give you more energy, and if your body is craving it. This alone can really make a big difference when trying to be healthier and avoid holiday weight gain. Here are a few quick tips and tricks to focus more on your health and less on being on a diet. Know what is in everything you eat. You should never eat anything when you aren’t clear about the ingredients or how it was made. If you are at restaurant, ask the waiter or lookup the ingredients online before ordering.When making food or treats at home, start reading the ingredients list and avoid foods with a lot of high-fructose corn syrup or ingredients you can’t pronounce. If someone else made the food for you, don’t be shy and really ask what it contains. Offer to make more dishes for parties and holiday events.The best way to know that you are eating something that is good for you is by making it yourself. When you are invited to Christmas dinner or a holiday party, ask if you can bring something. That way, there is less guess work when it comes time to choose an appetizer or main course for the meal, since you made it yourself.Aim for a healthy balance in all your meals and snacks.Instead of struggling to count calories and figure out how many carbs you are eating, simply try to have a good balance with everything you eat. If you are going to have a bagel for breakfast, try to choose a whole wheat bagel to have grains with your breakfast, then add some sliced fruit on top of the bagel. You now have a breakfast with fruit, low-fat diary, and whole grains all in one. It is much healthier than just a plain bagel with cream cheese. With all of your meals, try to aim for lean protein, whole grains, fruits, and veggies, or any combination of them.Try to add more fruits and veggies. A super easy way to focus more on health instead of being on a diet is to just add more fruits and veggies to your meals and snacks. This is really easy to do and doesn’t make you feel like you are missing out on anything, but rather adding in more nutrition to your meals. For example, have whatever cereal you want, but include some sliced strawberries or bananas in it. For lunch, go ahead and have the sandwich you wanted, but make sure there are veggies on it or a side salad. If you want fries with your dinner, have half fries and half veggies. These simple changes make a really big difference. GET PLENTY OF EXERCISE THROUGHOUT THE HOLIDAY SEASON. What you eat isn’t the only thing that is going to keep you from holiday weight gain. You also need to focus on getting regular physical activity. Gaining weight usually comes from eating more than you burn each day, so you want to burn as many calories as you can. Plus, with regular exercise, you are getting more energy, boosting y