All I want for Christmas is my… pants to fit. Anyone else finding it tempting to trade buttons and zippers in for a pair of sweats for the long haul? Resist! We know the holiday season makes it challenging to stick to our health and wellness goals. That little devil whispers in your ear: the holidays only come once a year. Angel, speak up! From Halloween to New Years is a veritable orgy of sugar, butter, cream, fat, and calories. So, yes, treat yourself – but not for two months. We have some tips for staying lean during the holidays!

The Secret to Sticking to Your Goals? High-Protein Foods

As the holidays ramp into full gear, we have less time and more stress. We’re shopping, going to parties, trying to figure out travel arrangements, fighting with the Christmas tree lights. And whenever anyone is in doubt about what to give you, they go with cookies or chocolate. Every. Single. Time. 

Despite the siren song of the sugar cookie, you are not powerless. In fact, now is the perfect time to gain control over your health. Consider it the best holiday gift you’ll ever give – and receive.

  1. Choose Quality First

free shipping bannerWe know the strategy well. We’ll skip meals so we can save up some calories for … how do we put this delicately… crap? Yeah, that doesn’t work? We’re hungry, so we over consume on the foods we’d normally avoid or limit. So, instead of enjoying a slice of cake after dinner, we eat cake. And a cookie or twelve. And, look, there’s a leftover puff pastry. Often, we still feel hungry because our bodies aren’t getting the nutrients they need. Worse, the empty fillers can leave us feeling drained, bloated, and like… you guessed it, crap. 

Eat. But eat your quality foods first. Let’s imagine a loaded up Thanksgiving table. Select your turkey. Put some sweet potatoes on your plate (baked is better, but a little mashed won’t hurt you) or some squash. Pile on the green beans and salad. Make yourself a good solid meal, and then treat yourself to some modest portions of your favorites, like stuffing or mashed potatoes. 

Allow yourself to savor the flavors and eat slowly. You’ll feel full and satisfied – and less likely to reach for the less healthy (or completely unhealthy!) options.

  1. Make Smart Substitutions

If you are making the feasts or if you are bringing dishes to someone else’s party, opt for healthier versions of your favorites. For example, mashed potatoes are a staple at many families’ tables. Try getting a similar effect – and a lot more nutrients – by using cauliflower instead. (Yes, it tastes amazing.) Spaghetti squash can be subbed in for pasta. (And yes, it’s a bit different but it’s so tasty!). Before you make your menu or go grocery shopping, take some time to Google or Pinterest a few recipes so you can enjoy your favorites in a more healthy, and satisfying, way.

A bonus tip: Don’t hang out at the snack table. Make yourself a plate and sit for a chat with family, friends, or welcome someone new to the table.

  1. Trick Your Brain

Ok, you can’t stay away from the stuffing and gravy. Grandma’s mac and cheese is calling to you. You really really really want that pie (and ice cream). Ok. So have it. Just give yourself a smaller portion. Here’s why: the more food in front of you, the more you eat. It’s science. A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition asked folks to eat macaroni and cheese one day a week for a month. They were given one of our different portions sizes but they could have as many servings as they wanted. People who were given the largest portion ate 30% more calories.

So you can essentially trick yourself into eating less by serving yourself less! It may be a good idea to have a serving area where people can get their food and then go sit down. Having bountiful bowls on the table can also lead to overeating. 

  1. Pre-Game with High-Protein Foods

Subscribe to Emails from Sweetwood Smokehouse and SaveWe talked about eating your quality food first. This tip for staying lean during the holidays is an extension of that. Research published in the British Journal of Nutrition found that a great way to keep from overeating is to chug a thick, creamy protein shake. Protein promotes satiety – but the researchers also found that when we perceive the shake as rich, creamy, and thick (like a milkshake), we are more likely to feel super satisfied. 

So if you’re about to head to a party, throw some in a travel mug, shake it up, and enjoy. Sip it while your friends and family are diving face first into the cocktail wieners and chips. Or, better yet, toss a high-protein FATTY Smoked Meat Stick in your pocket on your way out the door and enjoy it on the car ride over.

  1. Watch the Holiday Spirits 

If you want to enjoy an adult beverage or two, opt for dry white or healthy red wines, which are low in sugar, or liquors like vodka and gin, which don’t have many calories. Watch out for those sugary, calorie-laden mixes, though. A vodka tonic, G&T, or martini will put you right in the holiday spirit. If you find yourself feeling buzzy, stop! You’re in a good zone – just don’t drive yet.

When looking for high-protein foods to help boost your metabolism and keep you on track during the holidays, look to all-natural, mouth-watering FATTY Smoked Meat Sticks. Guaranteed to satisfy – and make January 2 all the more pleasant when you don’t have to lose 15 extra pounds! Shop now.