Navigating through holiday eating - from Christmas cookies at work to family dinners - can be difficult. Enjoy the holidays by not restricting yourself too much from enjoying your favorite holiday foods. Utilize the following tips to help you enjoy holiday food while still sticking with a healthy eating plan.
- Remember to eat three meals per day. Do not skip meals as this can result in overeating later in the day; especially when combining being too hungry with delicious holiday food. Breakfast is especially important as research shows that those who eat breakfast tend to eat fewer calories throughout the rest of the day. Days around the holidays can be busy, chaotic and overscheduled but don’t let this get in your way of having regularly scheduled meals.
- Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Enjoy small portions and eat slowly so that you can savor every bite. Try to wait 10 minutes before having seconds to help determine if you are really still hungry. Choose foods that you know you will enjoy the most.
- Slow down your eating. It takes about 20 minutes after we start eating for our stomach to talk to our brain to help us perceive when we are getting full. Slowing down eating can help keep our portions in check and allow us to know when to stop eating.
- Survey party buffets before filling your plate or wait until all of the food is on the table before making your selection. Start with filling half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Pick the foods you think you will most enjoy and skip foods you might not enjoy as much. This can help reduce guilt and avoid overeating.
- Take the focus off food. Remember to enjoy this time with family and friends and focus on the conversation and socializing. Consider planning holiday events with these people that don’t revolve around food. Turn a cookie baking day into a day to make holiday wreaths or gingerbread houses.
- Plan time for exercise. Enjoy sledding or ice skating for fun family time. Scooping snow (someone has to do it!) can be a good way to get your heart rate up.
- Don’t forget self-care during the holidays. Holidays are a joyful time, but can come with a fair amount of stress and emotional triggers. Make sure you have plenty of time for physical activities that you enjoy, sleep and other activities like meditation or journaling to de-stress.