Top Ten Tips for Holiday Eating
by Amanda Leendertse (Dietitian)
Don’t let your healthy habits go out the window with the holiday season. Follow these top 10 tips to stay on track during the holiday season.
1. Avoid skipping meals.
Stick to a regular meal schedule throughout the season to help stay on track with healthy habits. Doing so helps to avoid showing up to holiday gatherings hungry, which can result in overindulging and straying from healthy eating goals.
2. Socialize away from the table.
Eating at the table where food is being passed around or left on can lead to mindless nibbling. Dish up and socialize away from where food is being served.
3. Ensure healthy options.
If the gathering allows, bring a healthy dish to guarantee there is a healthy option to fill up on.
4. Aim for a healthy plate.
Grab a smaller plate and load your plate with ½ vegetables, ¼ proteins, and a ¼ starch or whole grains.
5. Avoid liquid calories.
Liquids give extra calories and don’t offer the same feeling of fullness that solids do. Liquid calories include regular pop, juices, egg nog, alcoholic beverages and energy drinks. To reduce calories, choose calorie-free options such as water or carbonated water (soda water, not tonic water) instead.
6. Keep alcoholic drinks in check.
Not only are alcoholic drinks a source of added calories, but they also decrease inhabitations which can lead to overindulging. Alternate calorie-free beverages between alcoholic drinks and keep the total number of drinks in check. The recommended amount of alcohol is 1 standard drink per day for women and 2 standard drinks per day for men. A standard drink is considered 12 oz. 5% alcohol beer, 5 oz. 10-12% alcohol wine, and 1.5 oz. 40% alcohol hard liquor.
7. Make a plan.
The holiday season offers many novel foods that are often high in calories. If a particular novel food or drink will be offered at an event, plan to indulge, but keep the portion size in check.
8. Eat slowly.
It can be tempting to eat quickly when surrounded by many delicious and novel food choices. To slow down eating, try setting the fork down between mouthfuls, or taking a sip of water between bites. This will allow more time for the stomach to communicate feelings of fullness to the brain.
9. Be honest.
Speak to your family and friends beforehand about your healthy eating goals. This can help avoid hard feelings experienced when second portions are turned down, and reduce any peer pressure to eat more.
Planning to make healthy food choices, include daily physical activity, and keep holiday indulgences in check allows for enjoyment of the season and feeling good in the process.
Happy Holidays from Wetaskiwin PCN!