Allyn Wergin, R.D.N.
Diabetes Education, Nutrition
The holidays are a busy time of year and filled with many annual celebrations. For many people, the holidays mean spending with family and friends and celebrate the joys in life. Some even may view this year as an opportunity to make up for canceled or postponed holiday gatherings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gatherings often includes special foods and temptations. But fat and calories can easily add up as you enjoy your favorite traditional holiday foods.
Remember that the holidays don't need sabotage your healthy diet habits.
Follow these eight tips to enjoy a healthier holiday season as you celebrate with others:
1. Don’t skip meals.
Skipping a meal with the goal of saving calories prior to a holiday event can often backfire and lead to overeating due to ravenous feelings of hunger. Having a filling snack, such as fruit, string cheese, yogurt or a small handful of nuts, can curb your appetite and prevent overeating.
2. Bring your own dish.
Ensure at least one nutritious choice is available at potlucks by contributing a healthy dish, such as a fruit or vegetable plate. Make it festive by arranging the ingredients in a holiday design like a wreath or tree.
3. Choose your splurges.
Scan the buffet or dinner table and choose a couple holiday favorites to splurge on instead of foods that you can have any other day of the year. Make sure you take time to really taste and enjoy that special treat when you have it.
4. Choose drinks wisely.
Stick to calorie-free drinks, such as water, tea or seltzer, instead of high-calorie festive drinks. Alcoholic beverages contribute empty calories and can cause you to make poor judgments with food. If you choose to drink alcohol, do so in moderation. Alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water.
5. Visit the people, not the food.
Move socializing away from the buffet or appetizer table to prevent mindless eating.
6. Say no to food pushers.
Remember that you are in control of what you eat. Be confident, decisive and polite. You should not feel shame with wanting to stick to your goals.
7. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.
No one likes that icky, overstuffed feeling after a meal. Eat slowly and check your fullness levels while you’re eating. Remember — there are always leftovers.
8. Don’t feel guilty.
If you overindulged, don’t beat yourself up. Just make sure your next meal is healthy and you incorporate exercise into your routine.