The holiday season is upon us and what a wonderful time of the year it is to celebrate and enjoy our family and friends. Unfortunately, the holidays can also be a time for over eating and weight gain. It seems that around every corner there is a cookie, pastry or some other yummy temptation. Office parties and cocktail hours abound. How can one navigate the buffets, eggnog and Christmas goodies without gaining weight and destroying a year’s worth of good eating? If we focus our efforts on a healthy balance of food, activity, and fun we can navigate the season with little negative impact on our health and weight. The following are a few simple tips to aid in your efforts to reach a healthy balance of fun eating through the holiday season.
Seven Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating
- Set realistic expectations for yourself. Don’t try to lose weight during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.
- Exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevents weight gain. A moderate and daily increase in your exercise routine can help partially offset increased holiday eating.
- Don’t skip meals. Otherwise you may be more tempted to over-indulge at the buffet table. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to help curb your appetite.
- Survey the party food before piling it on your plate. Choose a sample of your favorite foods and make sure to include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced.
- Don’t eat until you are stuffed. Instead savor your favorite holiday treats while eating smaller portions. Also, make sure you eat slowly and drink plenty of water-this will make you feel fuller.
- Watch your beverage consumption. Alcohol can lower your inhibitions and contribute to overeating. Also, non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar.
- Turn your attention away from food. Replace cookie making time with non-edible projects such as making wreaths or a gingerbread house. Plan activities with family and friends that aren’t food related. Volunteer at a local soup kitchen, deliver a meal to a shut in or visit a local nursing home.
Let’s enjoy Christmas and the holiday season without losing sight of its true meaning. Parties and food are fun; but in reality are only a means for celebrating the greatest gift of all-our Saviors birth. Merry Christmas and God bless you all!