Whether you have a sweet tooth or love the comfort of turkey and stuffing, many of us have a hard time resisting the food temptations that the holidays bring. Don’t fret, you can still enjoy your favorite foods and not overindulge during the holidays. Follow these simple tips for a healthy, happy holiday.
Control Your Appetite
Many of us are guilty of the number one crime against holiday eating. We skip breakfast and lunch, and save all the ravenous hunger for dinner and dessert. While you think you are saving calories by skipping meals ahead of time, you are actually probably consuming more calories during your one meal of the day than you would if you had eaten on a regular schedule. When we are starving, we overeat. Everything in front of us looks good so we pile all food options on our plate. And then we’re so hungry we eat as fast as we can, consuming a large amount of food before our body can signal to us that we’re full.
That’s why it’s important not to skip meals. Eat your normal breakfast, lunch and snack. You can choose lighter options for these meals if you want to save some extra calories for the main event. However, you still need to consume at least 3 meals that day to avoid overeating at dinner. A good light breakfast could be a bowl of oatmeal and a side of fruit or an egg white omelet filled with healthy vegetables. Healthy lunch options include a bowl of broth-based soup and a salad filled with vegetables and a light salad dressing. If you eat snacks, try a handful of almonds of 1/2 cup of low-fat yogurt to help keep your dinner and dessert eating under control.
Find a Good Balance
Often the foods we tend to indulge on over the holidays are high calorie, high fat, and low on nutritional value. It’s tough to pass up your favorite Christmas cookie or holiday pie. And guess what? You don’t have to! If you make healthy choices all day long then you can enjoy your favorite holiday dessert. However, you need to be mindful of how much you are eating. So you can enjoy one cookie, a small slice of pie or a small piece of cake. Eat your dessert slowly and mindfully, and enjoy every bite you take in. This is a reward for a job well done during the day, so savor your reward.
Create a Good Environment
It’s tough to avoid snacking on chips, dips and sweets if they sit out all day for people to enjoy. People tend to mindlessly eat by walking past a container of chips, picking up a few and eating them without any thought or recognition of what they are doing. To avoid overindulging on the unhealthy and high calorie snacks, do not keep them out during the holidays for people to graze. If you feel you need some appetizers out for guests, choose healthy options such as fresh fruit and vegetable sticks with low-fat dip or hummus. You can keep these options out for a 30 minute span and then return them to the refrigerator to keep them from spoiling. If you are attending the event and afraid your host will have a bunch of unhealthy snacks, offer to bring a healthy appetizer to the party. Your host will appreciate the help, and you’ll have a healthy go-to option when you feel the need to snack.
Try to Avoid Social Eating
Avoiding social eating is a tough task during the holiday season, as many events revolve around food. However, as much as you can, try to avoid social eating. This means always be mindful of what you are putting in your mouth when you are eating. Do not eat while you are in a deep conversation with a family member, watching holiday movies or exchanging gifts. You should only eat when you are seated and can focus on the simple task of eating. This way you know exactly what and how much you are eating, and you will realize when your body tells you that you are full. Keep distractions to a minimum when you are eating to avoid overindulging.
Remember to enjoy your holiday and do not overly stress about the meal. If you approach your holiday meal as any other dinner, you will have a happy and healthy holiday!