How to Have a Healthy and Happy Holiday Season!
Holidays involve celebrations that often revolve around food and eating. It’s very easy to gain weight and feel sluggish, or even sick, if you’re not careful! Here are some tips to help you avoid excess calories and increased weight from holiday eating.
First, it’s not only WHAT you choose, but also HOW the food is prepared and HOW MUCH you eat. You can enjoy the holidays without worry when you pay attention!
At Holiday Parties:
- Have a PLAN for how you’ll eat at the holiday party.
- Have regular meals beforehand to avoid feeling starving and overeating when you arrive. When you’re over-hungry, you’ll eat faster and often eat too much!
- Look over the food first and decide what & how much you’ll eat before digging in! Consider bringing healthy food options with you. Examples: Fruit trays, vegetable platters with low-fat or nonfat dip, wholegrain crackers, tortillas or pitas with hummus, salsa, or nonfat or low-fat vegetable dips.
- Stand or sit away from the food to avoid “automatic eating.” You want to be aware of what and how much you are eating while you’re talking!
- Focus on the conversation and non-food activities.
At Traditional Dinners:
- Portion your plate to contain ½ vegetables (raw, tossed salad, and/or cooked), ¼ protein (meat, poultry, etc.), and ¼ starch (potatoes, pasta, etc.).
- Avoid the skins on turkey and other poultry. Cut away excess fat from meats.
- Watch the stuffing! It has hidden fat: ½ cup (the size of an ice cream scoop) contains 200 calories and about 19 grams of fat!
- Cranberry sauce has vitamin C but also sugar, so 2-4 Tbsp is a healthy serving.
- Gravy can be made healthier by skimming the fat from drippings before thickening.
- Enjoy dessert! Fruit compote or crisp, single-crust fruit pie & pumpkin pie are all great sources of vitamins and fiber. Eat slowly & savor; you’ll be satisfied with less!
When Dining Out:
- Salad can be an excellent high-fiber/low-fat addition to any meal. Order dressing on the side to control the added fat & calories.
- First-course choices of broth soups or salad will help fill you and slow your eating.
- Realize portion sizes are LARGE. Take some home for another meal.
Second, don’t forget to move: You can always increase your exercise to balance out
eating to keep your weight and your health in check.
Finally, pay attention to other factors: sleep cycles, stress, less physical activity, seasonal depression, and more alcohol consumption. Be kind to yourself, you can get back on track.
Updated Dec 2022 by Michelle D. Davies, MS, RD, Corporate Managing Dietitian to Personal Touch Food Services, Inc.
Original content provided by: Mary Jo Parker, MS, RD.