I love the holidays. Not only do I indulge in over two weeks of winter vacation, but my days are filled with catching up with friends, celebrating the spirit of the season at different events in the city, and consuming copious amounts of delicious food.
Unfortunately, all of this indulging can often lead to a feeling of full-until-it-hurts, and the infamous food (or other) hangover the next morning. So how can you indulge without losing sight of your goals or forcing yourself to take up an air sandwich diet, post-Christmas? Well, with these challenges in mind, I decided to share my tips for surviving the holidays without sacrificing your waistline:
1. Backload your day
This is my favourite trick of the season. If I know I have a holiday event in the evening or afternoon, I will plan my calories accordingly. This might mean a light breakfast that is higher in protein and fats (saving most of the much needed carbohydrates for later), or I may even start my day with a mini fast. Fasting during the first half of the day not only allows you to eat more in the evening, but it also puts your blood sugar in a good position for eating more insulin-inducing foods (think shortbread, assorted chocolates, and sausage rolls. Oh my). These practices can also support your energy levels. By keeping sugar low during the first part of the day, you encourage healthy cortisol levels (providing energy), and limit your insulin response. Later in the day, when you are indulging in some yummy holiday treats, cortisol levels decrease as insulin levels are heightened. This is also helpful for our hormone levels, as the pattern supports a natural sleep cycle. Have you ever noticed how you become a bit sluggish after a large meal? That’s the power of a high insulin response. So keeping insulin levels low in the morning, can help aid in supporting a natural sleep cycle. Ultimately saving your calories for the afternoon/evening will allow you to really enjoy the holiday treats without feeling like you have to limit yourself to compensate for meals you have already consumed.
There’s no denying it. One of the best parts of Christmas is the copious amounts of baked goods that turn up everywhere you go. But for anyone with food intolerances, indulging in festive treats can often leave you in a bit of a pickle. This morning I was in the mood for homemade cookies. And although what I landed on was by no means a traditional Christmas recipe, it cured my craving for something sweet, while filling my condo with the aromatic scent of freshly baked goodies, all the while remaining gluten and dairy free (and even egg free, if you’d like).
These yummy little nuggets were adapted from Danielle Walker’s recipe, made with a few personal modifications. Danielle’s recipes are geared towards families living with various food intolerances and allergies, so if you haven’t already, I encourage you to visit her site and dive into her cookbooks. Her fresh take on the everyday staples never disappoints.
Here is my version, creatively titled Peanut Butter Chocolate Cherry Cookies (alternative name suggestions welcomed):