A, B, C’s of Healthy Holiday Eating!
It’s that time of year again! The days are shorter, there’s a chill in the air, colorful lights are twinkling and there’s a sense of excitement all around. While the holiday season is a great time for joy, cheer, socializing and parties, these final few weeks of the year can be a challenging time for healthy eating commitments. Food is often a centerpiece of the festivities but some careful planning, smart choices and mindful eating can lead to an enjoyable holiday season without any extra holiday pounds!
Here are some top tips:
A – always eat before a party!
Avoid skipping meals and “saving” for later. Feeling hungry can undermine even the strongest willpower! Stick to your regular meal pattern, basing your meals on whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins to keep yourself energized. Eat a small snack before leaving for a party such as fruit and nuts, or toast and low‐fat cheese.
B – beverages can equal unwanted extra calories!
Many drinks contain more than 300 calories – requiring a brisk walk of over an hour to burn off this excess energy! If you are planning to drink alcohol, start with a calorie‐free, non‐alcoholic beverage to satisfy thirst. Drink water, seltzer water with lemon or lime slices, diet sodas or juice spritzers between each drink to keep yourself hydrated and to save calories.
C – choose a smaller plate to help with portion control!
Fill half your plate with vegetables or salad, one quarter of your plate with lean protein such as turkey and the remaining quarter with starch such as potatoes. Wait 20 minutes before deciding if you are hungry enough for a second helping.
D – don’t rush to eat!
Mingle and settle into the festivities before eating. Chew slowly and savor the delightfulness of every bite. When your meal is finished, move your socializing away from the table to minimize mindless nibbling.
E – exercise is essential!
It is a great opportunity to catch up with family and friends. Take a walk (use a pedometer to count your steps), rollerblade, ice‐skate, play catch or a game of basketball. Strive for 30 minutes of moderate activity daily during the holiday season.
F – finally, be realistic!
Don’t try to lose weight; instead, focus on maintaining your weight by enjoying the traditional holiday meals with friends and family while taking time to be physically active. Set some specific goals to encourage yourself, keep a food and exercise journal and review your progress frequently. Acknowledge your successes and keep your motivation levels up!