For many people, the holiday season means going to more family dinners and friendly get-togethers. This naturally means there are more sweet treats and savory dishes, cocktails, and other amazing food and beverages to celebrate the festive occasion. And with more food and drinks within our reach, it could be a little challenging to stick with our own health and fitness routines. Lest merriment does not give us a legitimate reason to throw our health out of the window.
So, just before the hustle and bustle of holiday dining at the best restaurants in Raleigh goes into full swing, read on to learn how you can enjoy eating and drinking while keeping your healthy eating habit game stronger than ever.
Practice mindful eating
It’s easy to get distracted when dining out at a beautiful spot at one of the best restaurants in Raleigh. The sounds of guests chattering, increased ambient noises, bright lights — these are just some of the things that could speed up the rate at which you’re eating and lead to you eating more than usual. That’s not to say you must eat alone and in silence all the time (because that’s the complete opposite of getting into the holiday spirit!), but that you should keep your focus on your food and the moment that you’re in.
So, whether it’s dinner with colleagues or friends, remember to practice mindful eating. Paying close attention to what and when you’re eating will help keep you from overindulging. At the same time, making conscious choices about the treats you’ll have and when you’ll have them helps you avoid binge eating. Once you’ve finished your plate, take a few additional moments to enjoy a conversation with friends or relatives before checking in with your body to see whether you’re physically hungry for more.
One of the biggest problems for many people is the idea that they should give up on their healthy eating efforts altogether and just “get back on track” when they’re about to ring in the new year. In reality, it’s totally possible to stick to your healthy eating plan while enjoying the food and fun when you’re out and about at one of the best restaurants in Raleigh.
Pack on protein and fiber
Filling up on chicken, fish, lamb, beef, turkey, and other proteins, as well as vegetables, is never a bad idea. Protein and fiber help keep you full for longer periods of time. And according to many fitness experts, protein is the most satiating type of food. Interestingly, eating more protein can help curb your appetite over the course of the day and can also help reduce your cravings for sweets.
Say “later” when you can’t say “no” right away
Often, when you’re dining out with friends (and sometimes relatives) at one of the best restaurants in Raleigh, you’ll have some people constantly ladling food onto your plate, insisting you try this dish, or eat more of one thing, and proudly say things like “What diet? It’s the holiday season!” If you often find yourself dodging comments like “That’s all you’re going to eat?” or “Really, no dessert?” politely tell friends and family when enough is enough. You should not have to feel bad about your eating choices, so stick to your guns and dine and drink the way you want to.
If you feel uneasy about turning them down, try saying “later” instead of a submissive “ok”. This way, you don’t seem impolite, and hopefully, you can avoid future uneasy conversations with other people at the dinner table.
Go easy on the gravy or dressing
See that mouthwatering plate of roast beef on the table? You can still enjoy your holiday feasts without drenching your food in gravy. Instead of covering your greens or salads with high-calorie dressings, you can ask your server at one of the best restaurants in Raleigh if they can replace them with simple ones instead, like vinaigrette or extra virgin olive oil and a squeeze of lemon or a drizzle of sesame oil. This way, you get the nutrients you need without losing them to unhealthy sauces or condiments.
Don’t stress out
When the holiday season rolls around, all our usual duties and responsibilities are compounded by extra cooking, holiday shopping, extra tasks at work, attending parties, and so forth. If it all feels too much, then it probably is! Before you head to one of the best restaurants in Raleigh for your team’s company holiday dinner, try to carve out some time for yourself and decompress. It’s a known fact that high-stress levels can lead to overeating, especially cravings for sweet and fatty foods that we think help us calm down.
Keep everything in moderation
Let’s be real: even if you are on a diet, you owe it to yourself to have some room for indulgence if you want to. It is the holidays, after all, and it’s not every day you can eat a special holiday dessert at one of the best restaurants in Raleigh. You shouldn’t feel guilty about enjoying the food you love while spending time with the people you love. Plus, forcing yourself to refrain from certain foods can just lead to you wanting those foods even more and eventually overeating.
Enjoy the holiday season—don’t restrict yourself; that’s no fun!
While all of these helpful tips and tricks are designed to help you mindfully enjoy the holidays guilt-free, the most important thing is to not judge yourself if you slip up or overdo it on one (or more) occasion.
It’s the holidays—go ahead and eat dessert. Just remember to savor it slowly and that portion size counts. It’s definitely possible to eat healthy when you’re dining out with friends and family at some of the best restaurants in Raleigh. It’s a special time to cherish the company of those you hold dear, feel your best, and enjoy everything else along the way. Be kind to yourself this holiday season, and know that tomorrow is another day to eat, drink, and feel great.