The holidays are a time where it feels like there is food everywhere you look, whether it’s extra cookies at home, candy gifted from friends, a buffet spread at holiday parties or home baked goods in the break room at work. All of this extra food can lead to mindless eating.
To help combat that, Allyson Mast, MS, RD, CD, Clinical Dietitian at the Goshen Center for Weight Reduction, put together a list of tips for healthy eating during the holidays.
- Set goals. Start by setting healthy eating goals for the holidays. To do so, ask yourself some questions. Do you want to maintain your weight, lose some? Are you counting calories or watching portions? When you make a goal and plan to keep it every day, you are much more likely to follow through.
- Plan ahead. Plan meals, even snacks. Plan out what you will have for the day. If it’s not on the day’s plan, it doesn’t go into your mouth. Don’t trade what you want most, for what you want at the moment.
- Balance your plate. Remember the basics of eating right – aim for lean protein, vegetables and whole grain carbohydrates at each meal, use fresh fruit and low-fat dairy for snacks. If your hunger is satisfied, that can reduce the risk of grabbing for something less healthy when it’s right in front of you. Other basic healthy habits include tracking your food and drink intake throughout the day, eating a high protein, high fiber breakfast and keeping up the habit of exercising.
- Keep healthy sides in mind. If you are going to a party, be the person to make sure there is a healthy option there. Others will thank you!
- Think about your drinks. Watch your drinks – focus on water, fruit infused water (cinnamon and apples is very festive) or zero calorie flavored seltzer water to stay hydrated calorie free. Look up the calories is sodas, alcoholic drinks and flavored lattes. With that knowledge, you can make an educated decision as to whether a glass of eggnog is worth 350 calories.
- Choose your seat wisely. Be careful who you sit by, other people have an effect on your food choices, so sitting next to someone who is a big food pusher isn’t a good call. (Always remember that you can say no!) Look for a buddy, someone else trying to watch what they eat, and sit by them.
- Swap sweets for fruit. If you usually keep treats like cookies or dessert bars on your counter during the holidays, try to keep fresh fruits on display instead. If you can see something, you’re more likely to eat it.
- Mingle, not munch. When you’re at a party, don’t stand by the food. Instead mingle, be the life of the party! You’ll forget the food is there.
Are you interested in learning more about healthy ways of managing your weight? The Goshen Center for Weight Reduction offers free seminars and online resources that are open to anyone. Click here for more information.