By Nate Gilbert—

Reading day is almost here, marking the last day of classes and checking yet another semester off the list. The first sign of the fall semester’s end for me has always been Thanksgiving, and now that it has come and gone, the next food-filled days are many holidays that take over December.

Going into the holidays always presents a challenge for those that have fitness or weight loss goals (unless you are trying to gain weight, which is an article for a different day). These three tips will definitely help minimize the damage that your holiday feasts may cause to your fitness goals:

Make sure your plate is colorful

How much to eat? I say go for the gold here. Try to include a variety of colors on your plate from plant sources, and include a protein source for your meal. Having a good mix of vegetables, proteins and fat will lessen the glycemic impact of your meal, which will help control blood sugar and keep fat storing hormones at bay.

Don’t scarf down your food

This one is tough.  I know it’s tough because I’m a naturally fast eater. Often times our heart rates increase just thinking about the assortment of comfort foods. Slowing down the pace will give your body more time to recognize that you’re satiated, which will hopefully prevent overeating.

Resist the food coma

Possibly better than the former is the awaited deep sleep accompanying the holiday feast. I began challenging myself over the past couple of years by doing something active for approximately 30 minutes after dinner.  Football is a common task, but I’ve also mixed things up with shooting basketball, ‘tag-your-it’ with younger relatives or going on a walk with family.  Physical activity after a high sugar meal (let’s be honest, there is a lot of carbohydrate and sugar in these meals) helps lessen the blood sugar response and subsequent hormonal changes that impact fat storage.