Gaining weight does not have to be synonymous with the holidays. Neither does feeling run down from too much sugar, junk food, or alcohol. You can still enjoy and indulge this season if you follow some of these healthy tips!

Sweet And Savory Swaps

You don’t have to be the health nut bringing a salad to all of your holiday events this season to keep your health in check. There are many great recipes you can make that contain less sugar, saturated fat, and of course, the dreaded carbs.

For sweets and baking try making swaps from sugar with monk fruit or stevia. Keep in mind natural and organic sugars are still sugars!

For savory swaps, try using more vegetables in lieu of rice for filling. The more you bulk up on veggies, the less room there will be for extras. Not everything has to be made from cauliflower either, try some zucchini noodles for the lasagna or spaghetti squash as pasta.

Fill Up With The Good Stuff

Some items may be a traditional holiday recipe passed down from generations, and you just can’t beat the real deal. It’s ok to indulge during the holidays, the trick is to manage how much and how often. Start by making an intentional plan of what that indulgence will be. Once you have a plan, you’ll have to stick to it. Fill up on the good stuff like veggies, water, and lean proteins so there isn’t as much room for the rest.

Commit To Small Changes

Staying healthy this holiday season doesn’t mean you have to forgo all sweets and treats, avoid holiday parties and exercise daily. But committing to small changes now and ramping it up in January when the world is on board for a health kick can make a big difference. If you maintain your weight or fitness level this holiday, you aren’t starting the new year in a deficit and you will be so proud of yourself for sticking to it.

Gamify It

Turn staying healthy this holiday season into a game either with yourself, your family, or your coworkers. Set up small goals like no alcohol this week, no added sugar, or adding 2 cups of veggies to each day and every week declare a winner. The winner could get a prize, pick the next mini competition, or just get the bragging rights.

No matter what small changes and habits you commit to this season, remember they will only stick if you are excited and motivated by them. If exercise is something you despise, make it a goal to reduce the sugar and increase vegetable consumption this season. Don’t set yourself up for failure with a goal that makes you miserable. If you live for holiday treats and wait for this season all year long, don’t deprive yourself of them, set small limits and enjoy it. You will be much happier eating the one cookie that you allowed yourself to eat without guilt than feeling guilty after overindulging in a dozen. A great mantra to use is “I don’t eat that” rather than “I can’t eat that” when setting boundaries with yourself and holiday treats.