5 Tips to Healthy Eating During the Holidays

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5 Tips to Healthy Eating During the Holidays

Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away. Our 30 lb. turkey is already ordered, but considering we will have all of five people at our Thanksgiving celebration this year, the risk of overeating this holiday season is highly likely.  

Here are some tips to avoid the indulgent over-consumption that is as much a holiday tradition as Pumpkin Pie and Santa Claus.

  1. Smaller Plates, Smaller Portion Sizes
    • Like many of these suggestions, this one only works if you can restrain yourself. According to Cornell University, “research show[s] that simply switching to smaller plates can help curb overeating among individuals in situations where they serve themselves such as at the home dinner table or at a buffet.”
    • Limiting yourself to one small plate makes you consider what–and how much–of those delicious entrees and sides you pile on your plate. With only one round and one small plate, you can eat what you want in moderation.
  2.  Skip the meal-before-the-meal
    • Holiday parties always feature an avalanche of sides and entrees. But they also often feature a meal’s worth of appetizers: chips, dips, meats and cheeses are just the tip of the appetizer iceberg. Fancier appetizers like sliders can be upwards of 300 calories each. Save your calories for the main event!
    •  If you absolutely must snack before the meal, focus on the whole foods like fruits and veggies (go easy on the dip!).
  3. Focus on clean eating as much as possible
    • It may be tough in the face of pies, rolls, and cookies, but choosing only whole foods is one of the easiest ways to navigate the holiday buffet. Load up your plate with veggies and meat, while passing on the highly processed foods.
    • The easiest way to do this is to do the cooking yourself! Be the host(ess) with the most(est) and serve up a delicious, clean meal to your family.
  4.  Find healthy substitutes for holiday classics
    • The fact of the matter is that holiday food staples are heavy. Fats and starches are the stars. Making smart substitutes can help you eat healthier to avoid the oh-so-common holiday weight gain.
    • Some changes include:
      • Mashed turnips in place of mashed potatoes. They cook just like potatoes, but have one third the calories!
      • Olive oil for cream. Vegetables in cream sauce, like creamed corn and fancy green bean casserole, are a holiday staple. But using olive oil can greatly reduce fat and calorie intake.
      • Flavored sparkling water for alcohol. Overindulging in alcohol can make for a fun (or awful) holiday party. But it will always be awful for your waistline. Calorie-free sparkling waters still feel festive, but won’t blow a meal’s worth of calories in three drinks.   
      • Homemade cranberry sauce for canned. Prepared sauces are loaded with sugar. Make cranberry sauce with fresh cranberries so you can limit the sugar, and add fresh citrus to make a healthier, tastier version.
  5.  Journal your culinary adventure
    • One proven way to maintain a healthy relationship with food through the holidays (or anytime) is to keep a food diary. Writing down what and how much you eat can help hold you accountable to good, clean eating habits. It can also help you to eat less. If you’re like me, journaling your food intake is an eye-opening experience.
    • There are dozens of apps out there that will make it easy for you to track your food on your phone (check out a list here). Or you can always do it old school with pen and paper. Whatever way you choose to journal your food intake, the important thing is that you’re honest with yourself and include everything you eat and drink.  

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