Women’s Health

Healthy Eating for the Holidays

Americans gain, on average, one to two pounds during the holidays. While this may not sound like much, research shows that it tends to add up over the years. It’s the season for lots of food and celebrations all around. How can you navigate the holidays, participate in celebrating, and protect your health at the same time?

Here are a number of suggestions:

Mindfulness – A popular buzzword lately, but also a powerful tool. Focus on your food consumption by assessing how hungry you really are, and slowly savoring each bite you take. Allow yourself time to feel how full you have become and then stop eating.

Don’t skip meals – Holding off on eating earlier in the day leads to overindulgence later. Try to maintain a regular rating schedule including plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. East close to your regular meal times to keep blood sugar steady – whether or not you are diabetic.

Eat small portions – While holiday meals tend to be large, managing your portions and including nutrient rich choices will allow you to indulge in dessert as well.

Stay hydrated – We often think we are hungry when we’re actually thirsty. Enough water can help us feel energized and satiated.

Keep moving – Keep your activity up with a walk after a holiday meal to help you feel better and process some of those extra calories.

Get your rest – Research shows a tendency to overeat and gain weight when we are sleep deprived.

Holiday-proofing a buffet

  • Offer to bring a healthy dish
  • If you have dessert, cut back on other carbs
  • Select a small plate of foods you like best first
  • Limit alcohol
  • Eat slowly
  • Indulge in small portions of holiday favorites – it doesn’t help to deprive yourself!
  • Make smart choices including lean proteins, vegetables and lighter dips such as hummus.
  • Give the buffet a once-over view before making your selections.
  • Don’t stand near the food.

The object is to enjoy your time with family and friends, enjoy those once-a-year holiday food traditions in moderation, but still take care of yourself. It’s a gift you can give yourself!