Healthy Holiday Eating

The holidays are upon us! For many of us that means holiday parties, larger meals, baking and more baking! Research shows that the average American gains 1-2 pounds during the holiday season. This might not seem that extreme, but over time it can add up. You don’t have to throw your healthy lifestyle out the window in order to enjoy this time of year. Here are some tips to help you stay on track:

  1. Everything in Moderation:
    I know you have heard this one before, but it is so important! There is nothing wrong with enjoying a less healthful food (let’s say, pumpkin cheesecake). Eating a small slice isn’t going to make you an unhealthy person, but eating half of the cheesecake might. Enjoy every bite of your appropriately portioned dessert, but then leave it at that. Don’t bring leftovers home to sample every night before bed.
  2. Don’t skip the fruits and vegetables:
    When making your plate at a meal, try to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Fruits and veggies are naturally low in calories and fat and are packed with fiber. Fiber will help fill your belly up, keeping you from going back for seconds! Choose more of the veggies that don’t include added fat and calories from cream sauces and cheese.
  3. Your health is the sum total of your decisions:
    Like I mentioned in tip number 1, everything is fine in moderation, but all of the less healthful foods do add up over time. Overeating at one family gathering isn’t the end of the world and isn’t going to make you an unhealthy person, but repeating that behavior multiple times a week for the entire holiday season will. If you know that you are going to eat a less healthful dinner that includes dessert, try to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch packed full of fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins. These foods will naturally have less calories, are packed full of nutrients and will also keep you full longer.
  4. Get Moving:
    Don’t forget to exercise! Try to make time most days of the week for physical activity. It is recommended to be physically active for 30-60 minutes most days of the week. This doesn’t have to be all at once, you can break up the time over the course of the day. Try going for a fast paced walk after dinner or signing your family up for a Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning!
  5. Drinks Count Too:
    Don’t forget that calories from drinks add up quickly! Alcoholic beverages, sodas, punch and juices are all filled with empty calories – meaning they have a lot of calories that can add to weight gain, but no beneficial nutrients that your body really needs. So it’s okay to sample some of the eggnog, but try to stick with water for all of your refills!

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