Eight Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

The holidays are upon us. Most of us allow ourselves a few treats here and there, but how do we stay in control of our eating habits and not start the New Year with extra padding? The holidays are a wonderful time for enjoying family and friends, and many of our traditions involve special foods and large meals. How do we balance out the enjoyment of them without having them turn into edible booby traps?  Following are eight healthy tips to guide you through the holiday temptations.

  1. Eat regular meals. Or to put it another way: Don’t skip meals! When you skip meals, you get too hungry, and it’s hard to resist the temptation of unhealthy foods. Try to eat on schedule to curb overeating.
  2. Save up your calories. If you know you’re going to be having a bigger meal than usual in the evening, eat less food at your other meals that day. Don’t skip a meal, but try to eat less food and lower calorie choices. For example, have a turkey sandwich, a small apple and a side salad for lunch instead of foods with more calories.
  3. Don’t be the first one in line. When arriving at a buffet or party, enjoy socializing with the other guests and don’t make the buffet table your first stop. When you do hit the appetizer tray, opt for the smallest plate and make only one trip.
  4. Drink water or other low calorie beverages. Alcoholic beverages, pop, sweetened punches and holiday drinks can pack a punch when it comes to calories. Drink a glass or two of water before you head for the party and sip on ice water with lemon, sparkling water or other low calorie beverages throughout the evening.
  5. Keep up with your exercise routine. The colder and darker days, the busyness of the season and the crunch of time can make it easy to fall off your exercise routine. Pencil time into your hectic schedule to exercise or at least try to work in two 15-minute walks each day.
  6. Don’t build a tower of food on your plate. Make a rule to not stack food on your plate. This is called portion control! Put a reasonable amount of food on a small or medium plate, and opt for your favorite foods and not necessarily one of everything.
  7. Be a great hostess or guest. Provide fruit and veggie platters with interesting choices and low-fat dips. Be creative! It might surprise you how many people will appreciate having a lower-fat option.
  8. Splurge in moderation! This is my favorite tip. Of course we want to enjoy our favorite holiday foods and the hospitality of family and friends. Splurging in moderation means practicing “mindful” eating and being aware of our choices and our portion sizes.

Now is the time to enjoy the season and the traditions that accompany it. Happy Holidays to you all!

By Cheryl Rude

Registered Dietitian at Avera Marshall

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