It’s a nutty time of year, right? From turkey to holiday shopping to parties, ’tis the season!
And it really is a fun time of year. Except there is a lot to do — and maybe because of all of those fun to-dos some of your usual healthy habits are on the back-burner. I know that, for most people, this time of year usually means that trips to the gym are a little less frequent, splurges are a little more common and stress is just a touch higher. But this year, I’ve got a few more tricks in my healthy living bag. And treats, too!
Read on for my smart snacking and healthy living tips for the holiday season! (And I promise you they’re not vague and you haven’t heard them 4,000 times before — they really work!)
10 Smart Snacking Tips for the Holidays
1. Make a vow to not eat standing up. We’re usually not into hard and fast rules, but this time of year, it can be nice to have some general smart snacking guidelines to follow. And one that really works is to make a point to eat only when you’re sitting down and fully present (so, not when you’re, like, driving). It can help you to be more mindful, slow you down so that you’re more in touch with your hunger and fullness levels, and it’s just a more pleasant way to eat, right? Right.
2. Make protein and veggies your BFFs. Not sure what to nosh on for energy during a late night gift-wrapping session or holiday shop-a-thon? Reach for protein and veggies! Protein will help keep you full and the veggies will fill you up. And don’t think that protein has to come from animals — boasting 7 grams of plant-based protein and 170 calories per ounce, peanuts pack a protein punch!
3. Carry a water bottle with you everywhere. You probably already know that thirst can masquerade as hunger. So as you are out rushing about and holiday partying it up, drink your water regularly throughout the day and evening.
4. Breathe between bites. When we’re stressed, we tend to breathe faster and shallower. So, when you’re sitting down to snack (remember tip no. 1?!), take a bite and then take a big ol’ deep breath. Inhale for three counts; exhale for five counts. Ahhh, you feel better already, right?
5. Embrace the healthy fat. Healthy fat is your friend, not your enemy! And one of our favorite healthy fat sources are peanuts. In fact, more than 80 percent of the fat found in peanuts is made up of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These healthy fats can help keep blood vessels supple and lower cholesterol. Plus, um, peanuts are delicious and satisfying!**
6. Plan it out. I know meal planning isn’t as fun as singing Christmas carols, but when it comes to eating healthy over the holidays, jotting down a basic plan of what you’re going to eat for meals and snacks at the beginning of each week is key. It helps take the brainpower requirement out of “I’m hungry … what should I eat?” and sets you up for serious snacking success.
7. Always carry a healthy snack with you. And just in case you get stuck in a situation without your planned snack? Well, always have some PLANTERS peanuts in your purse or gym bag or car to fight off the holiday “hangries.”
8. Get picky. If you’re snacking from a buffet, it can seem tempting to want to try everything. Instead, hone in on the one or two things that are truly seasonal, special and that you’re craving. Have those, savor them (breathing between bites and sitting down!) and skip the rest.
9. Share your healthy favorites. Sharing is caring, so instead of bringing something unhealthy to a holiday event, why not pack a treat that’s tasty and smart like PLANTERS Cocoa Peanuts and PLANTERS Salted Caramel Peanuts? Both are serious crowd pleasers. And, in addition to plant-based protein and healthy fats, peanuts provide multiple essential vitamins, nutrients and fiber.
10. Be realistic. Now probably isn’t the time to try to work out more or lose weight. Set a realistic goal to maintain your current size and keep up your habit of fitness. The holidays only come once a year, so try to slow down and enjoy it!
What’s your favorite kind of PLANTERS peanuts? I have to say, the Cocoa Peanuts and Salted Caramel Peanuts mixed together is perfection. —Jenn
**Scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 oz. per day of most nuts, including peanuts, as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol and not resulting in increased caloric intake may reduce the risk of heart disease.’