I often hear from clients, family and friends about their concerns of overeating during the fall season with all of the holiday goodies. Candy galore at the office, that sweet apple pie slice or the allure of unlimited pumpkin spice lattes can lead to consuming much more sugar and food than we typically do. While I do believe in treating ourselves and enjoying the holidays with the delicious food and drinks (with no guilt!), there are simple ways to remain healthy during this season to avoid low energy, skin breakouts, poor digestion and unwanted weight gain.
In addition to making healthy food choices in general and exercising throughout the week, I listed five simple, yet effective tips below:
#1. Drink plenty of water – Such a simple tip, but so effective. Even though it is a simple tip, people still often struggle to drink enough water each day. We can sometimes confuse dehydration with hunger, so when you want to reach for a snack, drink a glass of water first, then see if you are still hungry for that snack. Also, drinking water before meals can sometimes aid in weight loss because you feel fuller and more likely to eat less. If you want to kick it up a notch, add one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to a full glass of water before each meal. This is beneficial for numerous reasons, including burning fat, helping to not overeat, boosting the immune system and improving digestion.
#2. Prioritize eating a healthy breakfast – Try to never skip breakfast! Eating breakfast wakes up your metabolism, plus sets you up for making healthier choices throughout the day. When we skip breakfast, this can lead to snacking on those tempting sweets around the office, drinking way too much coffee (because we have no energy) or overeating at lunch or dinner. When we are starving, we tend to make food choices that aren’t ideal.
#3. Keep healthy snacks on hand – When it comes to snacking, my approach is eat three meals per day that are full of veggies, protein and healthy fats. Some days I don’t need a snack in between meals, and then some days I do need a snack. I listen to my body each day, and I encourage my clients to do the same. When you keep healthy snacks on hand, you are less likely to go for the not-so-healthy cookies, candies and chips. Some great snack ideas I would recommend are: good quality protein bars, raw trail mix, hummus with veggies, hard-boiled eggs, berries with raw nuts, olives, chia seed pudding or mashed sweet potatoes.
#4. Choose healthier indulgences – I love to see companies coming out with healthier candies, cookies and chocolates. It’s fun to enjoy a treat, and one that’s made with natural, whole ingredients, natural sweeteners, no artificial colors or sweeteners, no trans fat or high-fructose corn syrup, makes it that much sweeter to enjoy! Plus, the taste of these high-quality brands is so much better. Here are a few great brands you can check out: UnReal has dark chocolate peanut butter cups and chocolate candies, Simple Mills has some amazing gluten-free and grain-free cookies, and Hail Merry has some incredible vegan tarts, cups and bites (I personally am obsessed with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites!). Especially during Halloween and the fall season when there typically are more snacks at work, I suggest bringing in some of these healthier options instead. I also want to add that a good quality 70-85% dark chocolate bar can be a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Additionally, if you like to bake and make homemade, healthier sweets, that’s an awesome option as well to bring to work—your coworkers will love you!
#5. Get plenty of sleep – Sleep is crucial for your health, but often not prioritized. During these months of the changing season, weather and activities, our sleep may decline. Poor sleep disrupts circadian rhythms, which can affect our appetite, metabolism and energy levels. Low energy can lead to reaching for that Halloween candy way too often, too many pumpkin spice lattes or poor eating choices in general. So, make sure to get in bed at a reasonable time to unwind, unplug and aim for seven to nine hours of sleep per night.