Healthy Eating for the Holiday Season

The Holiday Season is a special time of year that many people look forward to and enjoy.  However, it can be the most difficult time for people to try to manage their weight.  Many family gatherings and holiday parties involve a large selection of foods, which are often high in fat and calories.  In order to stay on track with your weight loss efforts, it is important to plan ahead and have some strategies in place to maintain a healthy eating plan.  Try the following tips to help stick with your nutrition goals:

Do not allow yourself to get too hungry
Being overly hungry often leads to poor food choices and overeating.

  • Eat a healthy snack before going to a party (fruit, veggies, yogurt, etc.)
  • Don’t skip meals on holidays, make sure you treat the day as a regular day, eat at least 3 meals.

Portion control is key.

  • Use a smaller plate so you don’t take too much food. Keep portions small. A taste often satisfies a craving.
  • Try to limit yourself to 1 trip to the buffet for more control over amount eaten.
  • If you would like more to satisfy cravings, make a doggy bag and take a portion home with you for the next day.

Do not stand beside the food at a party
You can often snack hors d’oeuvres without realizing how much you’re eating.

  • Focus on the conversation and not the food. Enjoy the company!

Avoid “clean your plate syndrome”. 
Leaving some food on your plate will signal that you are done eating, and people will be less likely to ask if you want seconds.

Choose healthier foods to fill up on at parties.  
The following are some healthy food options often found at parties:

  • Steamed Shrimp or Scallops- try cocktail sauce or lemon as a condiment
  • Fruit and Vegetable Tray- Plain, dipped in low-fat yogurt or low-fat veggie dip (use dips sparingly)
  • Sandwich without mayo or bring a healthy dish (This guarantees a healthy choice that you will enjoy)

Choose only foods you really want to eat
Don’t waste calories on foods you do not enjoy. 

  • Look at all the food choices at a party before eating and select accordingly.

Limit alcoholic and sugary beverages
The calories you drink can add up quickly and they often do not provide any nutritional value to the diet.  Alcoholic beverages may also stimulate your appetite and inhibit your ability to make appropriate food choices.

Control your environment
Limit candy, cookies and other snacks in the house.

  • If someone gives you cookies, try the following.
    • Have a cookie and freeze the rest. Save for when you have guests.
    • Recycle: give it to another friend or neighbor, take it to work or just toss it.
  • Fill decorative dishes with potpourri in place of candy.

Continue with your exercise program
This helps manage stress and burn calories.  When schedules get busy, remember a shortened work out is better than no work out at all!

Remember holidays are about sharing time with friends and family
While food is something to be enjoyed around the holidays, don’t let it be your only focus.  Enjoy the other aspects of the holidays.