The Thanksgiving holiday is soon upon us and it begins the Winter holiday season of celebrations with family and friends. Of course, much of this celebrating involves dinners, lunches, receptions, parties and other gatherings with plenty of holiday food. It is also the season where many Americans struggle with enjoying holiday food and avoiding unhealthy weight gain.
Yet, with a little conscious planning ahead of the celebrations, many persons will find that they can enjoy holiday food without starting the New Year with excessive weight gain.
Here are some easy and practical tips for healthy eating during the Winter holidays:
- Don’t Show Up To A Holiday Event Starving
It is a common mistake to avoid eating in anticipation of a holiday celebration. However, being hungry (or especially starving) before a holiday feast often leads to overeating. The problem gets worse when people incorrectly rationalize that excess eating at a holiday event is offset by having not eaten beforehand. So it is important to have some healthy food before going to a holiday gathering to help your body and mind know when you’ve eaten enough.
- Use A Small Plate
Using a small plate for your food portions helps you manage your decisions about how much you really need to eat. It avoids unconscious nibbling off of big bowls. It also avoids the dilemma of piling food onto a big plate and subsequently feeling like you need to eat all of it.
- Eat Slowly/Chew And Enjoy Your Food
Chewing your food and savoring the taste avoids unnecessary weight gain by allowing your stomach to tell you when its full. Thoroughly chewing your food also gives your body better nutrition and digestion.
- Watch The Alcohol
Alcoholic drinks contain significant calories and tend to make people misjudge or ignore how much food they’ve eaten. If you are inclined to drink alcoholic beverages, drink in moderation and with caution.
- Choose Healthy Food Options
Make a commitment that your food choices will at least consist of 75% of healthy selections while keeping indulging on less healthy items (such as desserts and foods containing fats, salt and/or sugars) to a minimum. Remember vegetable dishes are usually a good healthy option.
- Don’t Eat When You Are Experiencing Stress
Holiday seasons can also be stressful and many people suppress stress by eating especially when there is no physical need to do so. Try hard to avoid emotional eating. Common successful strategies to do so include exercise, walking, meditation, enjoying the company of friends and/or pets and listening to music.
- Staying Hydrated With Water
Staying hydrated with water not only helps your metabolism but it also can help you beat the feeling of being hungry. Drinking at least 8 to 16 ounces of water before attending a holiday celebration can go a long water to help you manage what you eat and keep you healthy.
- Enjoy Yourself
Most of all enjoy yourself and don’t be obsessed about what you are eating to the detriment of enjoying the moments with family and friends. If you fall short in your goals about holiday eating, do not “beat yourself up” about it but come up with a plan to do better next time.
Here’s wishing everyone a wonderful, tasty, safe and blessed holiday season.