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A Guide to Healthy Eating During the Holidays

Updated on February 17, 2013

The holiday season is in full swing and it can seem like weeks on end of non-stop pigging out on junk food.

Food is such an important part of any celebration while enjoying the seasonal festivities. If you wish to find a real solution to healthy eating during the holiday season it is a good idea to make a plan to help you change your usual behaviors. Think about the event you are going to, who will be there and who you’d love to see, what kinds of food will be available, the types of food you can’t live without (your personal triggers) and those foods you can do without.

Now that you’ve thought about these things, make a plan of action for healthy eating before you go to your celebration. Ask yourself what can you control and how might you react in different situations. It is so much easier to stick with healthy eating when you are faced with a difficult social eating situation if you’ve already planned ahead for it. It is tempting to reach for those rich desserts when the hostess peddles them before your eyes saying “try these, they’re to die for”, and your nose tells you, it is so. It is unrealistic for the average person to give up their favorite foods during this season and to stick to healthy eating completely. It is a lot easier to enjoy the holidays when your focus is on having fun and keeping the healthy eating expectations realistic.

Healthy Eating Tips

Follow these healthy eating tips and with some simple preparation you will set yourself up for success and make it through the holiday season.

1. Focus on weight management and not weight loss during the holidays. This is not the time to lose weight. You can make healthy eating choices your goal so when it is time to lose weight it won’t be so difficult.

2. Offer to bring a healthy dish with you, that you can fill up on before you indulge in all those tempting high sugar sweets.

3. Have the party at your house so you have a little more control over what kinds of healthy eating foods will be served.

4. Pace yourself and be conscious of what you eat and drink. Savor the flavor by eating slowly and choosing your food carefully.

5. Be physically active every day to help keep extra calories away and also reduce the stress of social events. It is your key to healthy eating in maintainin good health.

6. Don’t deny yourself of your favorite treats. Instead, choose small portions and make lower fat choices when you can.

7. Stand away from buffet tables and food trays so you will not be tempted to nibble constantly.

8. Eat breakfast and several small meals throughout the day to maintain healthy eating. This will cut down on hunger pangs, over eating and help keep your blood sugar levels steady.

9. Listen to your body’s signals that you have had enough and stop eating. Get a tall glass of water and sip on it throughout the night.

10. Eat a small healthy protein snack, like chicken or cottage cheese, before you attend any holiday event. Protein satisfies and helps you eat less.

11. If you must graze, try to munch on healthy eating foods such as fresh cut vegetables and fruits.

12. Focus on variety, moderation and balance of foods for healthy eating.

13. If you must drink, select light wines and beers over mixed drinks. Alcohol is high in calories. Drink responsibly, and limit your intake to 1 or 2 alcoholic drinks. Eggnog, fruit punch and sodas are also high in calories.

14. Reduce the fat in holiday recipes. In your holiday breads you can try substituting applesauce in place of oil, use plain nonfat yogurt in place of sour cream and try using egg substitutes in place of whole eggs. Most recipes can be modified to increase health value without sacrificing taste.

15. You can learn to say “no thanks” even to someone who won’t take no for an answer. Well, you just say “no thanks, again.

16. Add your own ideas to help you stick with healthy eating during your celebrations.


Eat Drink and Be Merry

“Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast”, William Shakespeare. Sharing good foods and feasting may be one tradition but enjoying the company of good friends, neighbors and family is what makes the lasting memories. Make the season special with gift giving, Yankee swaps, playing games, singing Christmas carols, sharing photographs, stories and reminiscing about the good times. Relax, enjoy the moment and remember what the season is all about. Now that you have all the makings of a great holiday, you can eat drink and be merry. In other words; “There is nothing under the sun better for man than to eat, drink and be merry. Go, therefore, eat your bread with joy and drink your wine with cheer.” Ecclesiastes 8:15


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