Eating healthy around the holidays seems to be one of the most difficult tasks around. With big meals and decadent desserts always on the menu, watching we eat is a must throughout the holiday season. Below we have compiled a list of our top 10 holiday dining tips to trim your waistline and keep you feeling great throughout the holidays.
1. Trim back the excess.
When it comes to having holiday parties, accessorizing the holiday foods can come with a heavy price. By adding things such as nuts, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter, and whipped cream you’re not really getting too much out of it besides the calories. If you must add something to a meal, stick to nuts, while everything after that should be left out more and more.’
2. Keep one hand busy.
To keep from reaching for unhealthy snacks while you’re standing around waiting for the main meal to begin, hold a glass of water or other favorite drink in your dominant hand. This will make it less tempting to reach out for other foods.
3. Chew gum and find a veggie tray.
When hunger begins to hit or snacks are frequently available chewing sugarless gum can keep hunger at bay. Another alternative to continually snacking on unhealthy foods is to locate the veggie tray and chew on some vegetables. This will keep you fuller and away from the temptations of the desert tray!
4. Be a food snob.
When it comes to holiday meals, there is almost always a buffet for the guests to indulge in. Instead of feeling obligated to sample every dish, just dive into the foods you truly treasure each holiday that aren’t always available. During the holidays, it’s less about portion control than variety. You’ll feel fuller faster if you’re only eating a couple of things!
5. No skipping meals.
During the holidays people tend to skip meals in order to save their appetite or calories for the main meal of the day. This is not a wise decision due to the future tendency of overeating when a lot of food is put on the table. One meal that many Americans tend to skip is breakfast. Eating a hearty breakfast and a light lunch will give you the opportunity to eat a satisfyingly sized meal for dinner without worrying about overeating.
6. Survey your options.
When you first arrive at a holiday party immediately grab a drink (water is the healthiest option, of course) and wait at least 30 minutes before you begin eating. By doing this you are giving yourself time to relax and observe the food choices. This strategy gives you time to pick out the few things you actually want to eat, and relaxing first makes you consume less overall.
7. Add fun and games.
When it comes to holiday parties, most people make it all about the food. It’s a good idea to add some fun and games into the night so you are not just sitting and eating. Make the night revolve around the activities after dinner by bringing in some games to play or make dancing a new tradition to get everyone up and active!
8. Alternate alcohol with nonalcoholic beverages.
Alcoholic drinks always seem to be the beverages of choice at holiday parties, but these hidden calories can quickly become your greatest enemy! Cut your calories from the alcohol in half by alternating water between each alcoholic beverage.
9. Skip the appetizers.
While standing around waiting for the main meal, locate the veggie tray and chew on some vegetables. This will not only keep your mind off unhealthy foods, but it also helps you get more than the average 57% of the recommended daily amount of vegetables most Americans manage. Choosing vegetables over appetizers also steers you away from filler foods like dinner rolls and stuffing!
10. Limit the variety.
It has been suggested by Dr. Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating, to only put two items on your plate at a time to limit the amount of food you consume. In doing this, you can still go back for more food multiple times without feeling guilty from over consumption. This will allow you to still feel in control by not sampling every dish that’s available.
To find out more information about how you can eat healthy and enjoy the holidays make an appointment with our nutritionist, Heather, today!