Top 6 healthy holiday eating tips
Q: I struggle to eat well during the holidays. How can I enjoy the season without blowing my diet?
No doubt that food is half the fun of the holiday season. We look forward to big family dinners, appetizer parties, cookie exchanges and so much more. No wonder we’re scrambling to the gym come January.
But the holiday season doesn’t have to bust your beltline or derail a nutritious diet. Here are some tricks to making smart choices amidst a smorgasbord of goodies.
- Don’t skip meals. As with any time of year, start your day with a healthy breakfast to get your metabolism working correctly. Don’t skip lunch to save calories for a dinner splurge. You’ll actually be hungrier and more likely to eat whatever is in front of you.
- Eat before you go. If you’re headed to an event where there will be tons of tempting food, eat a small, healthy meal before you go. You’ll be less likely to overeat on the bad stuff if your stomach is full of the good stuff.
- Eat plants. When faced with several options, choose fresh fruit cubes, veggie sticks and green salads (and by green I mean spinach or lettuce, not pistachio Jell-O). Basically, anything raw that grows from the ground is best. If you must eat your veggies with dip, opt for hummus or dips using Greek yogurt as the base rather than sour cream or mayo.
- Divide your plate into thirds. Two thirds should be filled with plants, whole grains or legumes, while the final third is meant for meats, cheese and occasional sweets.
- Don’t drink your calories. Do you have any idea how many calories are in eggnog and alcoholic drinks? Tons! Be careful about quenching your thirst with tasty beverages. Instead, opt for water when possible.
- Socialize. The holidays are about much more than food. Take your focus off eating and try to connect with people instead. You’ll be healthier both physically and emotionally, and that’s a great way to enjoy the season.
RD Leslie Looney is a registered dietitian at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center.
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