The holidays are my favorite time of year. I love the pumpkin and peppermint flavors, the spirit of giving thanks, the lights, and the love that people show one another. It is also likely you will find yourself surrounded by a lot of snacks, sweets, and holiday feasts at work or at home during the holidays. On average, Americans gain around one to two pounds during the holiday season. While this doesn’t seem like much, research shows that the extra pounds are retained and can accumulate over the years. The constant temptations are hard to resist during the holidays, but I have some tips to ensure you stay mindful of what you are eating while also being able to indulge in the holiday treats. Here are a few simple strategies to have a healthy holiday:
Indulge in sweets and snacks moderately. I would recommend choosing only the foods you that you love. Choose the foods that you really enjoy and enjoy them in small amounts. If you avoid the sweets and snacks completely, you may feel like you are missing out and fully indulge later. In fact, this is a tip to use all year-round, not just for the holidays.
In preparation for a big holiday party or feast, don’t skip meals throughout the day. This often leads to overeating. Eat a well-balanced diet throughout the day filled with fiber and protein to help you stay full longer. This approach will allow you to be mindful of the food and/or drink that are really looking forward to enjoying. If you try to save up your calories, knowing there is a party later on, your body will be in a ravenous state of hunger and you are more likely to overindulge, eat foods that aren’t your favorite, and feel unpleasant afterward.
Watch your portions. While you may not choose to eat a whole pie, a common mistake is eating large portions of food (even food that is considered healthy). Remember that even nutrient-rich foods have calories.
There are many other tips to avoid overeating that could be utilized during holiday season (and all year-round). At holiday parties build a well-balanced plate. Make half your plate fruits and vegetables before going for entrées and desserts. When it comes time to eat, take time to enjoy it. Focusing on enjoying your food will likely help you slow down and avoid overeating. And before going back for seconds, wait 10 minutes to really see if you’re hungry.
Using these tips and tricks can help you have a healthier holiday season. For more tips, we have registered dietitians available to answer your questions via email on our website. Click on this link to ask a dietitian for more tips. (link) Happy holidays!
Written by: Vanessa Winegar RD, LD
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