It’s that time of year again! The holidays are time to celebrate with family, friends and, of course, food. Maintaining a commitment to healthful eating during the holidays can be a challenge. However, with a little planning and preparation, you can keep off those unwanted pounds and still enjoy everything the holiday season has to offer! Here are a few tips:
- Be realistic. Don’t try to lose the pounds. Instead, aim to maintain your current weight.
- Make a plan and start the day with a smaller meal that includes protein (ex- eggs, peanut butter, yogurt, lean deli meat). Don’t skip meals.
- When planning to attend a holiday celebration, eat a smaller, lower-calorie meal midday. This will give you better defense to resist overindulging with food at the party.
- Don’t rush to the food table. Socialize and focus on friends and family before settling in to eat. Socialize away from the food tables.
- Plan for exercise. Exercise relieves holiday stress and prevents weight gain. Even 10- to 15-minute brisk walks are helpful.
- Scan the food table and make choices that are consistent with mindful eating. Select a smaller plate. A larger plate often results in increased food selections.
- Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Eat slowly and savor your food. Resist the urge to go back for more food by waiting at least 20 minutes to allow your brain to register that you are satisfied. If you are not satisfied, eat more vegetables or drink water.
- Consider drinking a calorie-free, non-alcoholic drink first before moving to alcohol. Moderate alcohol consumption is defined as one drink for women and two drinks for men. Alcohol releases inhibitions and can increase hunger.
- Practice healthy holiday cooking. Try swapping higher calorie ingredients for healthier substitutions in your favorite holiday dishes.
- When approaching the food bar or table, consider appetizers that include fresh fruit, marinated vegetables, hummus, salsa and shrimp cocktail for a lower-calorie celebration.
- The holidays are a wonderful time of the year to connect with family and friends, not a time to gorge and eat all you can. Your body will thank you. Remember, you are in control!