10 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips
The holiday season is upon us. You’ve worked so hard to get into shape and the temptations can be overwhelming. Now is the time to create a plan that will allow you to enjoy your holiday favorites without blowing all of your previous efforts. The following tips will help you plan your strategy and avoid packing on the pounds this holiday season!
1. Eat before the party. The idea of saving calories by not eating throughout the day and indulging later does not work. You’ll be famished when the time arrives and run the risk of binge eating at the party. Have a mini-meal containing a small portion of protein and carbohydrate (ex. a cheese stick, low sugar piece of fruit, greek yogurt, or protein bar) an hour or so before you leave.
2. Ensure one healthy option will be available. Offer to bring a healthy dish such as a protein, fruit or vegetable tray or a low fat/low calorie dessert, which will guarantee you a favorite dish that you can enjoy.
3. Move throughout the party. If you are socializing with friends or family, pick areas far from the food buffet. This will prevent you from unconscious nibbling, which could impact your goals to maintain your weight.
4. Limit or Avoid beverages with calories. Holiday drinks and alcoholic beverages are loaded with calories (up to 500 calories per 8 oz serving). Use sugar free products like seltzer water, flavored waters and other sugar-free drinks and drink mixes to avoid those unnecessary calories. Alternating your holiday beverages with a glass of water will help with your urges to sip.
5. Always use a plate and utensils. Finger foods are easy to unconsciously over-consume . Place all of your food selections onto a plate and use utensils to eat whenever possible. DO NOT feel obligated to eat everything on your plate, especially if the taste is unappealing or it’s not one of your favorites.
6. Have lighter foods first. Start out with a small plate of salad or vegetables first. Then go back for your main course.
7. Do not deny yourself. Closely review your food choices. Limit the fried foods, cream-based soups, casseroles, pies, processed meats, pastries and baked goods. When you make your selections, serve yourself only 3 bites of each in addition to your protein. This will allow you a bit of indulgence without the guilt. Remember, if it’s really not one of your absolute favorites, don’t waste the calories on it.
8. Pair up! The buddy system will help you stay on track. Find someone else who is attending the party who is striving for similar weight loss and healthy living goals. Use each other for accountability to stay on track.
9. Focus on activities other than eating. Remember the true meaning of holiday get-togethers. Focus on family, friends and reconnecting, while limiting the time spent hovering over the food. Engage in fun activities such as board games, card games, gift exchanges, and other activities that do not involve food.
10. Maintain perspective! If you over indulge, don’t panic and throw caution to the wind for the remainder of the holidays. Overeating one day will not break your plan. Instead, spend the next few days focusing on healthier choices of proteins and low-sugar carbohydrates (fruits & vegetables) and you’ll be right back on track!