Staying on a Healthy Track During the Holiday Season
The holiday season is a time filled with parties, family gatherings, and lots of food, so it’s easy to overindulge in rich foods that aren’t so good for you. But there’s no need to miss out on the festivities just to save your diet and your health. With a little help, you can keep from eating too much during the holidays.
Here’s how to enjoy the holidays without ruining your diet:
Don’t Skip Meals
Many people believe that if they skip breakfast or lunch they can save all those calories for the holiday party that night. That sounds like a good idea, but skipping meals can make you crabby and tired and maybe lead to a headache that just might ruin your evening festivities. Skipping meals also puts your body into a starvation mode and therefore instead of burning calories it begins to store them. Eat small, low-calorie meals.
Eat Small Meals
Eat a bowl of whole grain cereal and skim/low-fat milk for breakfast, and a mid-morning snack of raisins and nuts. Eating a healthy lunch with a big salad or sandwich made with whole grain bread will keep your body and brain fueled throughout the day.
Eat High-Fiber Foods Before the Party
When you have a party to attend, snack on some fiber-filled foods just before you go. Fiber helps you feel full, and if you aren’t so hungry, you might not eat so much at the party. Choose foods that are low in calories, such a small salad, a plate of veggies, air popped popcorn, a piece of fresh fruit, or a small bowl of oatmeal.
Eat Small Amounts of Food You Love
No one wants to feel deprived, so go ahead and take a small piece of pie or one cookie, but not both. Look over the buffet or the serving table, and pick out one thing that you really would love to enjoy. The rest of your plate can be filled with healthy vegetables and fruits, whole grain crackers, cheese and lean meats.
Don’t Hang Around the Buffet
It isn’t easy to resist the delicious foods you find on a buffet at a party, so get away. Choose your foods and your drink and move to a different part of the room. At least you’ll have to think about what you are doing before filling your plate again and again.
Pace Yourself – Slow Down
When friends and family gather at a meal, the food is usually piled high on most everyone’s plate. You wolf down the first plate and pick out more of your favorites to gobble down as second helpings. It takes a few minutes for your brain to realize your stomach is getting full, and you can eat a lot of extra food in those few minutes.
- Set your fork down between bites and sip some water.
- Relax and enjoy the flavor of each mouthful.
- Chew each bite thoroughly before you swallow.
- Savor each moment with your friends, family, and this wonderful food.
- Remember it’s a meal, not a race to see who can eat the fastest.
Drink Plenty of Water
Many people believe that mild dehydration feels like hunger and the best way to avoid becoming dehydrated is to drink plenty of water. You can also use water to slow down your eating by taking a sip or two between bites.
Keep Healthy Snacks at Work
You’ll be prepared to resist high-calorie holiday treats brought in by co-workers and customers. These treats are always tasty but rarely healthy. Snack on nuts, raisins, fresh fruit or energy bars instead. This way your snack calories provide you with good nutrition. If you’re going to indulge in a holiday goody, make sure it’s not an everyday add-on. If you are going to indulge, do it earlier in the day, like the morning so you have all day to burn off those extra calories.
It’s difficult to avoid overeating during the holidays. If you do slip up now and then, don’t beat yourself up for it. Be kind to yourself. Remember that maintaining a healthy diet throughout the holidays takes practice. Forgive yourself and make sure your next meal or snack is a healthy one.