Try these tips!
The holidays are a great time to gather with friends and family and celebrate around a table of delicious food and tasty beverages. Holiday parties, gift exchanges, and traveling can be stressful enough without worrying about what should or shouldn’t be eaten. Enjoying the holidays, with every bite, can help relieve stress without missing out on your favorite treats. Rethink your resolutions and focus on eating healthy throughout the year by starting with these seven tips:
1. Find balance
Focus on what you can add to your diet rather than focusing on what you should give up. Mindful eating allows all foods to fit in a healthy diet. Choose foods to give your body the nutrients and energy it needs, but also that taste good and are satisfying. Evidence shows that depriving yourself of your favorite foods can backfire and cause you to overindulge. Change the “all or nothing” mindset of needing the perfect plate to meet your health goals and give yourself permission to have your favorite foods this season and all year long. Eat slowly and savor each bite. Eat with intention. Eating with awareness to the food you choose can maximize enjoyment of the dish.
2. Avoid skipping meals
Skipping meals may lead to overeating due to uncontrolled hunger. It can also cause you to feel weak and lightheaded, drops in blood sugar, and create intense cravings. Protein and fiber keep you feeling full for longer which may decrease the likelihood of overeating at the next meal. Start the day off right by creating a breakfast with lean proteins and high fiber foods. Examples are:
• Avocado on whole wheat toast topped with a sliced boiled egg
• Oatmeal with a tablespoon of peanut butter, walnuts, and blueberries
• Vanilla Greek yogurt with raspberries and granola
3. Snack smart before a holiday party
Eat something prior to attending a party to help control your hunger. Snacking on food that are rich in carbohydrates, fat, and protein are well-balanced, will control your blood sugar, and keep you feeling energized. Snacking smart keeps you from overeating at your next mealtime while keeping you focused on your healthy holiday goals. Consume fruits and vegetables for something that requires minimal preparation and is nutritious. Examples are:
• Sliced apples with peanut butter and string cheese
• Trail mix with grapes
• Baby carrots and sliced cucumbers with hummus
4. Veggies are the way to go!
This season, freshen it up your plate by adding colorful vegetables. Challenge yourself to make half of your plate, red, green, or orange vegetables. Salad, sweet potatoes, and fresh green beans would made tasty and nutritious additions. Reserve ¼ of your plate for starches like potatoes, macaroni and cheese, corn, rolls, and stuffing. Save ¼ of your plate lean protein like turkey. Even if you’re not a huge fan of vegetables, add in colorful fruits instead. Monitor your fullness. If you are still hungry, go for dessert! But if you feel satisfied and full, leftovers will be available later.
5. Limit alcohol
Drinking alcohol in excess can be harmful to the body. It can affect mood, memory, speech, movement, and reflexes, and can also slow down brain functioning and cognition. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends no more than 1 drink a day for women and 2 drinks a day for men. If you’re going to drink alcohol this holiday season, drink a glass that has proven benefits, like red wine. Red wine is packed with the antioxidant resveratrol which has protective, heart healthy benefits. Try mixed drinks with a splash of 100% juice, water and fresh citrus, or with sparkling water.
6. Self-care, setting boundaries, and saying no
It’s easier to stick to your health goals when you’re able to confidently tend to your mental and emotional health. The holidays are generally a joyful time but can also be accompanied with stress and emotional triggers. Remember to take care of yourself and limit situations that may feel overwhelming or leave you feeling extra fatigued. Practice scenarios that may cause distress so you can mentally prepare for how you will handle it. This helps with “food pushers” who may pressure you to you eat more of a dish they prepared. It’s not your responsibility to make someone else feel happy by overeating. Practicing to politely say no will help create boundaries that benefit your mental and physical health.
7. Keep moving!
Between shopping, holiday parties, and family time, it’s easy to let your normal exercise routine slip. Fit in physical activity when you can. Moving during commercial breaks or parking further away from store entrances are simple ways to incorporate movement into your routine. Joining a gym or working out with a group can help with accountability. Try for at least fifteen minutes of activity twice a day.