Staying fit, Healthy and Surviving the Holidays

When I reminisce about the Holidays of my childhood, my most cherished memories are surrounded by the people I love and…food. Thanksgiving Day, my favorite, most cherished holiday of all, family bustling in and out, laughter, football and a massive feast from anti-past to turkey to decadent desserts. The seven fish dishes on Christmas Eve with never-ending appetizers, fresh crab sauce and endless pastries. I remember Christmas Day beginning with blueberry pancakes, bacon, eggs and sausage for breakfast, followed by dinner including Eggplant Parmigiana, baked ham, green beans, meatballs, turkey and lasagna. Of course the big bash on New Year’s Eve picking on snacks and appetizers well into midnight and a Lazy New Year’s Day noshing on whatever is left in the house. What a great time of year! But we can not ignore our Spring Holidays!

Now that we are a week into Lent we have Passover, Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday and Easter…leading into memorial day weekend and then summer.  The turkey, fish, potatoes, matzoh, lasagna and pastries! Not to forget the cadbury eggs, jellybeans, chocolate, peeps and booze.Yeah. Being a Celiac, or any one with dietary restrictions for any reason can really put a damper on the holidays! Eating healthy during the Holidays, celebrations or parties can be a challenge. I truly hope you can gain some comfort and ideas from this post!

Let’s rewind to 2009, A Celiac diagnosis right before Thanksgiving and not a clue about what to eat. Not only that, Dairy is an issue too. Oh yea, my children also have dietary restrictions from food allergies. Dairy, Peanut, treenut and Soy. Imagine the fun at parties, holidays and even every day meals. I needed a lot of help at this point in my life and I had no one to offer any. Over the last 8 years I have been dedicated to learning and experiencing as much as possible about Celiac and food intolerance’s/allergies. As a Certified Fitness Trainer and Nutrition Consultant it is my job to provide as much information possible my client’s, especially those struggling with Celiac, food allergies and intolerance’s. Here I share with you some basics to help you through the holiday season.

Easily clearing 3000 calories plus daily, you can see the holidays, for your health, can be a recipe for disaster. The winter weight already gained (typically 3-6 lbs.) is only being added to around the Holidays. Now, this is not to say we shouldn’t enjoy the festivities and indulge a little, but here is a way to survive the season without sacrificing our waistlines.

You can survive the holidays with dietary restrictions, you can survive gluten free; you can stay fit and healthy all while still enjoying yourself and making memories. Here is my go to basic list for survival.

1-HYDRATE: Drink water all day long. Not only is this a must for your dry winter skin, but it will also help you feel fuller. Drink a full glass before eating. Shoot for about 80-100 ounces a day.

2-COORDINATE YOUR PLATE: More veggies, less potatoes. More turkey, less gravy. More beans zero bread. If you are hosting the holiday, you will have a much easier time preparing your food without the risk of cross contamination. If you are a guest, that can be tricky. Preparing ahead of time is the absolute BEST choice. Enlist the holiday host if possible, making her aware of your condition. During the holidays people tend to be in the spirit of giving and the host may want to ensure there is a dish or two you can have. I also highly recommend bringing your own meals/snacks. Once people understand how sick you can get from food, they will not berate you for packing your own.

3-PICK 1: Dessert that is. Pick one Dessert you absolutely must have. Again, same as above, talk to the host and bring your own!

4-ADD BUBBLES!: Many people enjoy a cocktail or two during a celebration. Here are some calorie cutting ideas to keep in mind. If you enjoy white wine-add club soda. This cuts your white wine sugar and calories in half per glass without sacrificing too  much of the flavor. Enjoy a gluten free vodka such as Tito’s or Ciroc without the added calories – forget the juice, add club soda. This cuts the added calories of sodas and juices out and also cuts the calories in the wine down without sacrificing sobriety. Add fruit for a pop of flavor!

5-MOVE: Don’t skip your workouts even if you are out of town. Find a way to get 30 minutes of active fitness in! There are many workouts designed for those with no gym access. You can also go for a power walk. Remember, any movement is better than no movement.

Happy Holidays!

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