Athletes of different magnitude and sport discipline prepare themselves for practices, intense training sessions, competitions, and entire competitive seasons. Holiday season where everyone around will be indulging to all kinds of food should not be an exception. In this case, holiday season could also be referred to as eating season.
Holiday season kicks off with Halloween candy, continues with Thanksgiving and ends with numerous parties, enormous fests, alcohol and even a selection of deserts throughout December (or if you prefer, during Christmas time).
It can be really easy for everyone to go overboard when it comes to eating and drinking, but at the same time it can be especially annoying for athletes who are trying their best to stay in shape while joining in on the festivities.
In this post, we shall cover a few quick tips that can help athletes stay in shape while remaining on track of their dietary goals, without at the same time missing out on all the fun.
Tips for Athletes during Holiday Season
Pay attention to your body and eating habits
You should already have adopted and followed a diet while you are training. Since you make the effort to follow the relevant diet while in training season, make sure to follow a similar pattern when resting for a few days or enjoying yourself with family and friends. This will help you follow a normal schedule while preventing hunger and overindulging. Before trying a new or special meal, simply ask yourself whether you would normally consume this many calories or this type of food? If the answer you give is negative, plan accordingly.
Every little activity or action helps when you are consuming more calories without any particular training. If you have to choose between taking the stairs or the lift, well simply take the stairs. Volunteer to help out with the chores, whatever those may be. Walk with your family or friends before, after or during events which will help offset the extra calorie intake without the need for additional gear or warm-up.
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Volunteer to cook
If you find a chance where you can contribute in the kitchen, prepare a meal or part of the meal which is healthy. Try to add vegetables, fruits, and lean meat on the menu, especially if other portions of the cuisine aren’t so healthy. If not everyone goes for your suggested dishes, it’s a good reason to remain on track of your calorie intake.
There is a big number of healthy suggestions on traditional holiday recipes that you can find online. Be proactive and find something that you like. If you don’t have the time to look into it, here are some substitutes for common ingredients:
- Spritzers for regular salad dressings
- Skim instead of whole milk
- Yogurt instead of sour cream
- 2 egg whites instead of 1 whole egg
- Low fat cream cheese for whole fat cream cheese
Devise a healthy strategy
Just like the sport or activity you are engaged with, you should approach the larger events in your eating season with a strategy or plan.
- Make sure to eat healthy snacks before the big meal. Those with soluble fiber (legumes, grains, fruits or vegetables) and healthy protein (seafood, white poultry meat, yogurt or beans) can reduce your appetite.
- Before sitting down at the table, check to see what foods are being served and choose the healthiest options available. Try to minimize the high fat and sugary foods.
- Try to have small portions over 2 to 4 hours which are better than one huge meal.
- If you are of legal age to drink, make sure to drink two glasses of water for every alcoholic drink consumed.
- When it’s time to have a dessert, choose your favourite one instead of all and make sure to enjoy every bit of it.
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