The holidays are often centered around food. If you feel like you can’t enjoy the season without worrying about weight gain, success coach Kenneth Ferrer shares helpful tips.

1: Load E Plate with 50% or more Veggies: When it comes to big holiday meals, fill your plate with at least 50% fresh vegetables- The high water and fiber content will make you fell fuller, and keep your overall calorie consumption down. I recommend going for vegetables that are in season and as local as possible, such as brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli, and acorn or butternut squash. 
Research healthier alternatives traditional holiday foods: As we become more health conscious culturally, we realize that having huge overindulgent meals really isn’t in our best long or short-term interest. Studies have shown that while the average American person eats around 2000-2500 calories a day, a single big holiday meal can weigh in around 3000 calories JUST for that meal. With that in mind, we can adjust some of the traditional holiday foods to lessen the overall calorie intake. For example, mashed cauliflower has 1/5 the amount of calories per serving compared to mashed potatoes. Similar taste and texture, much different nutritional profile. Other food alternatives include poached pears instead of cranberry sauce, and green beans stir fried in olive oil with almonds instead of green bean casserole. 

2: Put it in Perspective: We need to understand that we do not need to eat everything at a Thanksgiving or holiday meal. If we take a step back and put the meal into the greater context of our lives, we can see, oh, well from a pragmatic perspective, most of us are surrounded by a lot of indulgent food every day. Its unlikely that this is the last time you’re ever going to have access to pumpkin pie in your life, so the question becomes: do I really need that extra piece? I’m not telling you to avoid all of your favorite foods on the table, but I am saying to eat sensibly, and with a greater wider perspective as to how this meal fits into you life. 

3:Schedule HIIT Exercise Before Your Meal (and the day after): HIIT or High Intensity Interval Training is scientifically shown to have a myriad of benefits. HIIT involves alternating between periods of high intensity exercise and recovery periods, and is best done in shorter bouts, in as little as 4-30 minutes depending on the style. Studies show that you can lessen the impact of a higher-calorie meal by doing HIIT training beforehand, because of the fact that HIIT increases the rate and duration of fat oxidation, which is when your body turns fat into fuel. Research shows that this “after-burn effect” can last up to 48 hours. All-in-all, you burn a lot of calories doing HIIT, you burn a lot of calories after doing HIIT, AND studies suggest HIIT can lower your blood pressure. 

4: Personal and Group Mindset- Get Your Family on Board: Remember, just because you are surrounded by a lot of different foods, it doesn’t mean you have to overindulge. Eat sensibly, and remember that the holidays don’t need to be defined by the big meals. Educate your family and friends about what we discussed today. It’s a lot easier to make healthy choices when we do it as a group. The last thing I’ll say is that the holidays are a good time to appreciate your life, and the people you get to spend it with, and I hope after today, your holidays can be a little healthier too.