Many of us face tempting food challenges, and the Holiday season tends to increase those challenges dramatically. Buffets and dessert trays in our workplace, family get togethers, church and social events, then New Year’s Eve celebrations, Super Bowl parties and Valentine’s Day, so the calendar is filled with temptation. To help you make healthier choices during this season, here are some tips that can help.

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–Always carry a healthy “safety net” alternative with you. Protein shakes can be consumed almost anywhere, and are great to keep your fuel levels up when your day gets out of hand and meal schedules get cast aside.

–Prep your office meals in advance to avoid a “lesser of the evils” situation. Office temptation will be greater if you have no healthy option at hand.

–Eat proactively. If you know you will be confronted by a co-worker bringing in unhealthy foods and snacks, eat before the temptation gets there. Not being hungry can help lessen the urge to dive in.

–Brush your teeth before being confronted by the tempting foods.  Having the residual toothpaste taste in your mouth may make the unhealthy foods seem less desirable.

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–Create your “Staying Healthy” Plan. Knowing you may be faced with this type on temptation, write out, in advance, how you can deal with it. Having your own plan makes it easier to stay the course.

-Make sure you keep your hydration up. In addition to being a valuable part of your fitness equation, water can also give you a feeling of fullness, lessening the appeal of food and/or hunger feelings.

–Treat food splurges like a debit card, not a credit card. With a debit card, you must have the money in your account before you can spend it. With a credit card, it’s buy now, pay later. If you make a deal with yourself that you will pay for any cheat meals in advance, by burning that estimated number of calories with extra exercise before you splurge, you can know that you are enjoying your cheat guilt free.  An additional bonus is, once you think about the exercise benefit you are about to wipe out, you may be encouraged to go lighter on your food extravagance.

Jim Harris is a Master Trainer, who also holds certifications in Sports Nutrition, Weight and Lifestyle Management, and Precision Nutrition.

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