This article was created in collaboration with Suntory ALL-FREE.
For people trying to stay fit and healthy, the holidays can interfere with good eating habits and exercise plans. The endless smorgasbord of treats and meals can challenge even the most disciplined of us. But if you have the stubborn determination to smash 100 wall spheres in a row or train for a brutal obstacle course race, you can bypass the biggest vacation traps just as easily. Follow this easy-to-use guide to stay strong and healthy all season.
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1. Eat before you go
The easiest and most effective way to avoid a food frenzy is to fill your stomach with nutritious, filling foods. Try mixing some good fats – for satiety – with complex carbohydrates to reduce hunger and keep your eyes smaller than your stomach. Good choices are pistachios and avocados, both of which are high in unsaturated fats and fiber, as well as lentils, which are filled with fiber and complex carbohydrates. If you're in a rush or don't feel like preparing food before heading out, try mixing a whey protein shake and cutting it down. A 2010 study by the University of Toronto found that consuming 20 to 40 grams of whey protein mixed with water can help you feel full before large meals. And when you're there, skip the cookies and crackers and head to the protein-based appetizers instead: shrimp cocktail, meats like salami or hot peppers, oysters (if you're lucky!), Meatballs, and devilish eggs.
2. Don't be afraid of the "beer"
If you're a beer fanatic, there are plenty of light craft beers to bring along to keep calories and carbs low. But for those who want to be even healthier and forego alcohol, pack Suntory ALL-FREE, a beer-like refresh from the legendary Japanese brewing and distilling company. The beer-like drink with an alcohol content of 0.00% offers an uncompromising taste as it is made from double-row malt barley and aromatic hops, which gives it a welcome bitter note and a light, crunchy taste. Best of all, you get all of that refreshing beer-like taste and strong carbonation with no calories and sugar, and no artificial flavors or sweeteners. With the voucher code you will receive a 35% discount 35FREE until December 31st (* limited offer).
3. Choose a small plate
During cocktail hour, use the smallest plate available to limit the number of treats you can stack on. There's a psychological component too: a study by the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell showed that using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate can trick your brain into believing that the serving is much bigger, resulting in lower calorie consumption overall . If only large plates are available, use a napkin as opposed to a plate. This way you can only keep one drink and one starter at a time.
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4. Dilute your drinks
There is no doubt that drinks will be flowing at holiday gatherings this year. But instead of just giving in to temptation and drinking alcohol glass after glass, try changing each quaff with water to help maintain your fluid levels and limit the amount of alcohol you consume. Other great options are sticking to a lucid mind – like vodka or tequila – and mixing it with generous amounts of seltzer, or reaching for a soft drink like ALL-FREE.
5. Jump back into action
It's no big deal to miss a few days of training during the vacation when you've been very consistent over the year. Just start where your last training session left off. It can be a boon too, because those extra days of rest can help you achieve some level of supercompensation (the phase that comes from hard training and recovery), resulting in an even better workout on your return. However, remember to take a few extra minutes to warm up and cool down before and after your workout. If your dynamic warm up is typically 5 minutes, extend it to 7 minutes. The extra time can help increase blood flow after a sluggish, vacation-induced freeze.
6. Hit some chewing gum
An easy trick to use to keep your appetite low is to bring some sugar-free gum with you. (Go for peppermint flavors as they have been found to suppress appetite.) Pop a piece when your stomach starts grumbling to help suppress the desire to stuff your face. A 2011 study from the journal Appetite showed that chewing gum can slow snacking by about 10 percent for up to 45 minutes after a meal.
7. Make moves
Do you feel bloated and sluggish after ignoring our tips during a feast? Don't despair, just make sure you're moving as fast as you can. Immediately after a massive meal, you can feel like you haven't completely wrecked your pre-vacation fitness simply by getting up and moving. Go for a walk with the family or take the puppy out to get your digestion going.
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