9 tips to maintain healthy eating habits during celebrations

12.12.2022

Let’s celebrate! We have plenty of reasons to gather with family and friends throughout the year to mark anniversaries, carry on traditions or simply embrace the season. Those celebrations oftentimes center around food and indulgences that challenge healthy eating habits.
 
Here are nine healthy eating tips to keep unwanted extra calories at bay and enjoy the festivities.

  1. Eat small, healthy meals. Before a party or holiday meal, eat a light snack, like avocado and egg toast, apples with peanut butter, Greek yogurt with fresh blueberries, or a small handful of nuts. The goal is to arrive at the celebration without feeling hungry and avoid temptation to overindulge.

  2. Bring a healthy dish. Brightly colored vegetables, a medley of fruits or spicy sriracha popcorn lighten up the choices with tons of good-for-you flavor.

  3. Rethink your drink. Eggnog packs 500 calories into a glass. Low sugar hard seltzers, light beer or a glass of red wine offer a better beverage option. Remember to drink water in between choices of alcoholic beverages. Water tends to reduce thirst and fill your stomach so you consume fewer calories.

  4. Gather or sit far from the food table. What you don’t see won’t tempt you!

  5. Start filling half your plate with fruits and/or vegetables. Then add a small portion of protein like fish, turkey or chicken and starchy foods like mashed potatoes, bread roll, pasta salad, sweet potatoes or rice.

  6. Take time to enjoy the flavors. Put your fork down between bites. Or use a napkin for appetizers instead of a plate. The napkin holds less food, which gives you a chance to savor the smaller portion.

  7. Slow down on seconds. Give yourself at least 10 minutes before a repeat visit to the food table. The pause gives your brain a few minutes to register the “I’m full” signal.

  8. Make exercise a priority. Take a walk for 10 to 15 minutes after a party. Or find a family activity that gets everyone moving. Regular exercise prevents weight gain, enhances sleep and reduces stress.

  9. Give yourself a break. Believe it or not, a slip-up doesn’t shut down progress toward your goal of healthy eating. The key is to get back on track, let go of guilty feelings and refocus on enjoying time with friends and family.

 
Maricel Lopez-Colon, RD, LDN, is part of the Integrative Care Team at Goshen Center for Cancer Care. She offers nutritional support for patients before, during and after treatment. As an advocate for patients and their families, Maricel blends education and a common sense approach to help them face nutrition challenges related to their treatment. She also answers questions about cancer diets, trends and fads.