We all love to indulge around the holidays. Just the thought of Christmas makes me dream of eggnog, coquito, macaroni, sweet potatoes, cake and cookies. It’s a time where there seems to be an endless supply of my favorite treats. However, the holidays are also an anxiety provoking time for many reasons. It’s an expensive time of year with various social gatherings and a lot of money being spent. It’s a very tempting time for indulgence for many of us. Here are seven holiday healthy eating tips to enjoy the holiday’s shame free and happily.

1. Stay hydrated

Many of us confuse hunger with dehydration. Drink a glass of water before you eat a meal. That way you know that you’ve quenched your thirst and most likely won’t over eat. Aim to drink 8 or more glasses of water; this will enhance your digestion, cravings and bloating.

 2. Monitor your portions

You can eat anything you want in moderation. Instead of piling your plate sky high, opt for small spoonfuls of whatever you like. Don’t stuff yourself; stop eating when you feel content. You can always store your leftovers for later. If you struggle with monitoring your portions, try logging your food into an app like MyFitnessPal. When I first started improving my diet and losing weight, I logged everything I ate and it changed my entire perspective on what I consumed. You’d be surprised on how many calories are in your everyday meals.

3. Maintain your workout schedule

Since you’ll be eating much more calories than usual, it’s important to be active. During the holidays, I incorporate more HIIT and cardio workouts to shred more fat. If you find yourself with more social obligations and a jam-packed to-do list at night, make sure to workout in the morning or afternoon. Make your workouts non-negotiable. Or prioritize the events most important to you so you don’t feel the pressure to go to everything. Don’t neglect your workouts during this time, I workout 3-5 times per week for 45 minutes to an hour. Additionally, this is also the perfect time to plan a workout with friends or family so you can spend quality time with them and be active.

4. Find a healthy balance

Be mindful of what you’re consuming instead of stuffing your face with whatever’s in front of you. If you know you want to go heavy on alcohol then don’t overload on food. When it comes to serving your plate, fill it with 50% vegetables, 25% protein and 25% starch.

If you prefer to eat a lot more then go light on the alcohol. Alcohol consists of empty calories and it also tempts you to eat more. Limit your intake of high-calorie drinks like eggnog, coquito, and margaritas. Also, make sure you’re altering each drink with a glass of water. Your body will thank you in the morning.

5. Opt for healthy substitutes where applicable

Whether that’s eating from the veggie platter instead of the chips, crackers and assorted meats, or substituting sour cream for Greek yogurt, there’s always a healthier alternative. Get creative. Don’t be afraid to be the person who brings the healthier hors d’oeuvres or dish. Do your research and try out some new exciting recipes.

6. Make time for self-care

People demand your attention much more during the holiday time. Don’t try to do everything for everyone. Whether you’re aiming to hit end of year goals/deadlines, holiday shopping or socializing, don’t overextend yourself.  Take time to do activities that help you restore your energy whether it’s meditating, sleeping, reading, getting a massage etc. You cannot serve others from an empty vessel.

7. Choose to have a positive mindset

Don’t let the holiday stress affect your health. Allow yourself to enjoy delicious food without feeling guilty. If you want stuffing, macaroni and cheese, or cake, go for it. Just don’t let it derail your everyday lifestyle. Remember when you eat excessive sugar it makes you crave more sugar. After indulging in sugary foods, I make sure to drink lemon water to detox and then I go back to my regular healthy meals. The more consistent you are with your healthy lifestyle, the better you’ll feel about yourself especially after your cheat days.

If there’s anything else you want to expand on or any tips you’d like to add, let me know in the comments below.

Happy Holidays!