It's that time of the year again

Candy, then cookies, rich casseroles, and high-calorie drinks. Many of us embrace the “food comas” and the sensation of exceptionally snug waistbands. After all, this is just par for the course at this time of year.

But, who says it has to be that way? What if we challenged ourselves to two months of better energy and digestion at the start of each holiday season?

Sound crazy? Think again. I have had hundreds of clients experience weight loss, better sleep, and improved gut health in the midst of holiday celebration after holiday celebration.

Here are my three best-kept secrets to help you live your best (and healthiest!) life this holiday season.

Never Attend a Party on an Empty Stomach

We’ve all been there before. We strategize and fast all day thinking that it completely justifies a food binge at that long-awaited family party. However, the end result is typically disastrous and the long-term health effects go way beyond our clothes fitting more snug that we would like. Arriving at a party famished only leads to poor food choices and excess consumption of these foods.

The answer? Eat a small meal or snack before you arrive. Sure, you’ve probably heard this tip before but the key is to make sure your mini-meal contains protein and fat. A choice made entirely of carbohydrates such as an apple or a handful of crackers is not going to do the trick. Instead, try pairing an apple with peanut butter, your crackers with guacamole or dip a chicken breast in a few tablespoons of roasted red pepper hummus 1-2 hours before arriving at the party. Your blood sugar and gastrointestinal tract will thank you.

Swap a Smoothie for a Sweet Treat

The most common question from my clients is, “If I want something to satisfy my sweet tooth but I don’t want to indulge in junk, what would you recommend?”

A nutrient-dense shake of course!

I love to recreate my client’s favorite desserts in smoothie form, and nothing makes food dreams come true better than a Vitamix!

Here are three of my clients’ absolute favorite “dessert” smoothies. Each of these smoothies can be made within minutes. Simply add all ingredients to your Vitamix and blend until smooth and creamy.

High Energy Happy Holidays Main

Chocolate Covered Banana

Your favorite chocolate protein powder (a scoop that equals 15g protein)

1 TBSP almond butter

1 large frozen banana

1 teaspoon of cinnamon

8-10 oz chocolate almond milk

Almond Joy

Your favorite chocolate protein powder (a scoop that equals 15g protein)

1-2 TBSP shredded coconut flakes

1 large frozen banana

1 cup coconut milk

Pineapple Upside Down Cake

Your favorite chocolate protein powder (a scoop that equals 15g protein)

1 cup frozen cherries

1/2 cup frozen pineapple

2 TBSP full-fat canned coconut milk

1 cup vanilla almond milk

Rest and Digest

Although you may be busy mingling with family, try your best to leave a 1-2 hour gap between your last bite of food and bed each night. This allows your body to completely digest your food before your body shuts down for sleep each night. You will notice a deeper sleep and less bloat. The best part? A restful night’s sleep keeps hunger hormones in check, making it easier for you to make better food choices the next day.

At the end of the day, anything is possible if you put your mind to it. This time around, let’s get ahead of the curve together and accomplish our health and wellness goals before we ring in the New Year.

Happy eating my friends!