When Thanksgiving and Christmas come around, people can’t wait to dig into macaroni and cheese, turkey, cookies, cake and so much more. However, the days after the holidays can be the worst — feeling lethargic, tired and just … blah.
So, how can you keep cravings at bay during this holiday season? Look no further because Gabby Geerts, a registered dietician at Green Chef — a healthy and organic meal kit delivery service — is here to keep you in check.
"Following a strict diet requires proper planning, as we can overlook all the conveniences of grabbing food on the go or snacking on whatever is around," she exclusively tells OK!. "We are overwhelmed with options on holidays, making it especially difficult. Pack easy snacks like string cheese, a few ounces of nuts like pecans, walnuts or olives."
Geerts advises everyone not to "skip meals or ignore hunger signals on big eating days," which "will only encourage poor decision making like overeating or predominantly consuming simple carbohydrates."
In order to not be tempted by some scrumptious desserts — sugar cookies, anyone? — Geerts says to "keep a physical distance from the treats will help alleviate the temptation, particularly if you can keep them out of your line of vision."
"Allow yourself one walk through of the food options but do not return for mindless snacking later," she adds. "Drink plenty of water, as thirst can be confused for hunger, particularly when food is readily available."
As for what to nosh on? "Mostly any vegetable that is roasted will retain a good amount of nutrients and doesn’t require additional fat or sugar," she says. "Butternut squash or black bean chili are great winter meals that satisfy with flavor and fullness from the protein and fiber."
However, Geerts notes we don't need to be too hard on ourselves during this joyful season — after all, it's the happiest time of the year, right? "Our health and diet is not defined by one day of eating," she says. "Diets have to be a lifestyle, something that we can sustain longterm. Have a healthy meal already prepared for the day after, so it isn't a daunting task to get back in your groove. Think of ways to repurpose the leftovers, like dicing the turkey into a lettuce wrap or reheating sweet potatoes, adding walnuts and topping a bowl of arugula.
"I think a cheat day is and should be allowed," she says. "The difficult thing is to not allow that cheat day to roll into cheat days or weeks. And knowing how far you are willing to stretch on those cheat days, it isn’t beneficial or advised if you binge eat and undo all the prior progress."
Green Chef is also a great resource as it makes it easy to cook "and eat more balanced meals over the holidays."
"There are plans for all types of diets like Paleo, Keto, Vegan and more," she explains. “The recipes are easy to follow, and dinner can be on the table in under 40 minutes."