Ho-Ho-Ho! Happy holidays!
To make sure you don’t cover those abs with a bowl full of jelly, you’ll need to figure out how to balance your clean eating with your everyday-a-cheat-day schedule that lies ahead. Easy. Muscle & Performance has plenty of tips that will keep your diet clean while you navigate the eggnog, hors d’oevres, and desserts that fill the season.
Hack 1: Consolidate your meal prep
Social engagements galore may limit the amount of time you have to prep your food. So choose foods that don’t take much time or energy: bake potatoes, sweet potatoes, or spaghetti squash and thinner cuts of chicken breast; and hard-boil eggs. All of these take minimal prep time before throwing them in the oven or pot to cook—less than 45 minutes of hands-off time. Or, if you know that you will have a particularly busy week, considering giving yourself the gift of delivery meals, such as Kettlebell Kitchen in the Tri-State area, or FuelFood throughout the U.S.
Hack 2: Make breakfast a priority
Breakfast is really the only meal you know that you’ll get to eat as planned. Make sure that it’s quick, in case you want to sleep in. Sure, you could grab cereal and milk, but if you have time, prep high-protein breakfasts, such as hard-boiled eggs that can be paired with an EPIC bacon bar or bites for an on-the-go bacon and eggs, or overnight oatmeal, or egg muffins. This way you can sleep in and just grab breakfast and go.
For a plan B, consider ordering a few smoothies from Daily Harvest to keep in your freezer. Throw the ingredients into a blender with a cup of your favorite water, juice, or milk; blend, pour in the cup and go. We’re fans of their Cacao Kapao, Wake & Cake, and Matcha Coloda smoothies.
Hack 3: Eat a pre-party meal
“Try to have a filling, healthy snack that will kill your cravings so once you get to the party you’re thinking with your head, not your stomach,” says celebrity chef and New York Times Best Selling author Devin Alexander. She tends to eat a few hard boiled egg whites with just a touch a salt and pepper or a green juice, but a protein shake is another option.
Lauren Slayton, MS, RD, founder of Foodtrainers in New York City suggests sipping a capful of apple cider vinegar and hour before you go to the party. “Apple cider vinegar is a fermented food that helps keep blood sugar stable. Basically, it insures less fat storage — if taken regularly, better digestion, and no bloating,” she says.
Hack 4: Make a party plan
Don’t walk into a gathering without knowing where you going to stand to what you’re eating. Leaving things up to chance is a sure way to go overboard. Slayton suggests to pick a location to mingle that is away from the food, that way you won’t mindlessly pick.
As for what to eat, she suggests being monogamous with the hors d’oeurves. “A little bit of this, a little bit of that, isn’t going to keep you on your goals,” she says. “Pick one item and stick to that. When in doubt, scarf the shrimp. It is low in calories and fat, and high in protein.” About 3.5 ounces of cooked shrimp has 99 calories, less than a gram of fat, and 24 grams of protein.
Add these tips to our 12 clean eating hacks and you’ll head into the New Year as lean, if not leaner, as this year.