Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

December 2015
Holiday Feast
The holidays are a time for getting together with friends and family. It's also a time for traditions, which include delicious foods that we enjoy once a year. Whether it's your aunt's sweet potato pie, or grandma's special sugar cookies, we all look forward to enjoying these annual foods. It's also a time for hectic schedules, and grabbing food on the run. All of this adds up to not eating as healthy as we should.

On average, a person gains 8-10 lbs between November and January. But there are ways to help prevent packing on those extra pounds. A little pre-planning and discipline will go a long way.

First of all, be realistic. You know you are going to indulge, so strive to maintain rather than lose weight during the holidays. No need to put more pressure on yourself.

Remember to stay on your regular meal pattern and physical activity schedule. If you typically eat three meals a day plus an afternoon snack, stick with that. Do what works for you. Try increasing your cardio workout by 10 minutes to help burn those extra calories.

If you love to bake during this time of year, consider baking less, or using simple healthy recipe substitutions. For instance, use applesauce to replace oil in recipes or cut the amount of sugar in a recipe by 25-50%. If you just really love to bake, consider giving half of your wonderful goodies to a homeless shelter. You'll be spreading holiday cheer to others!

If you are attending a holiday buffet, take small portions. Eat what you like, but cut the portion by one-fourth. Once you have your plate of food, sit far away from the buffet with your back facing it. You won't be as likely to want more.

Keep a record of what you eat. Count food groups, not just calories. If you focus on counting calories, you're probably not eating enough healthy foods. You can keep track of what you eat through many different apps, including myfitnesspal.com, loseit.com, or sparkpeople.com. You can even go to choosemyplate.gov and it can help you create a meal plan for you.

Many people travel during the holidays, which makes it hard to eat healthy. Pack healthy snacks for the car or waiting at the airport. Fruit, raw vegetables, or your own trail mix are good options. If you do have to eat at the airport, choose packaged salads and small wrapped sandwiches.

Stay hydrated. Sometimes we think we are hungry when really we are just thirsty. Drink a glass of water before a meal and you won't consume as many calories during that meal.

Most of all, enjoy yourself and your loved ones during the holidays! That's what's important.

And remember, they are the Holi-DAYS, not Holi-MONTHS!