The holidays are typically a time of celebrations, giving, friends, family, and FOOD. We are often so overstimulated by the amount of food around us we practically gain 15 pounds by just seeing all of these extra delicacies. No matter your health goals (losing or maintaining weight, controlling blood pressure or blood sugar, food allergies, etc.), holiday eating is bound to wreak havoc on us all unless we have a good game plan. Here are some tips and ideas on how to navigate holiday eating.
- Potlucks: If you’re headed to a potluck, bring something you like and that you are able to enjoy. This works especially great if you end up having a lot of leftovers! Who wants to bring home a crock pot full of something you don’t like?
- Break room treats: Game plan 1: avoid, avoid, avoid. Game plan 2 (it can be hard to avoid all those delicious treats!): have one small item that you really enjoy. Don’t waste calories on something you don’t even like or something that doesn’t taste good. If treats are starting to go stale, throw them out! Everyone else will thank you. Encourage your co-workers to make their treats healthier (more on this below). Eat healthfully and keep your regular meal schedule at work around the holidays. If your body is well nourished you will be less likely to have cravings for sweet treats.
- Check out the available food choices before picking up your plate. If you pick up your plate first you will be much more likely to load it up with everything there. If you look at the options first you can plan what you want to try.
- Use one of the smallest plates available. Less room, less chance to overeat.
- Only choose foods that you really want to have. Skip the rolls if they’re store bought, you can eat those any day. Save your calories for more exciting items like Grandma’s traditional green bean casserole or butternut squash soup.
- Fill up on fruits and vegetables. If there are fruits and vegetables, choose these dishes first.
- Portion sizes. Try to stick to reasonable portions. If there are a lot of items you want to have, have very small portions of everything or just a few portions of the things you really want.
- Dessert. Have very small portions of something you want to try.
- Eat normally the day of a party or celebration meal. That means you should have breakfast and lunch if you are having a meal later in the day. Consider having a healthy snack before you leave for the party to avoid overeating.
- Adjust recipes to control sodium, sugar, and fat.
- Stop eating when you are full. Most of us become very uncomfortable if we overeat.
- Exercise. Most of us don’t feel like exercising if we eat too much. However, if you eat until you are full and not beyond you’ll be more likely to want to go for a walk or play a game with your family.
Check out this delicious recipe from the American Heart Association for a twist on your traditional turkey and mashed potatoes: Orange Glazed Turkey with Potatoes and Carrots
MyPlate Tips for Holiday Eating:
Learning ZoneXpress Tips for Simple Holiday Recipe Swaps: