10 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Diet Over the Holidays

Concern over the impact of the holidays on your health is warranted. With a tendency to indulge more and exercise less, the average person gains 1-5 pounds and experiences a spike in cholesterol during the holiday season.

However, with the right strategies and a little creative know-how, you can stay healthy and celebrate the holidays without feeling deprived. Here are 10 tips to get you off to a health-conscious start this holiday season.

Tip 1: Snack smart beforehand

You may have heard the saying don’t grocery shop hungry. The same applies to holiday festivities. It’s wise to have a nutritious snack before arriving at a holiday gathering.

Showing up hungry can lead to overeating and making poor food choices. Having a pre-party snack as simple as low-fat yogurt with berries can rein in your hunger and keep you from scooping second and third helpings onto your plate.

Tip 2: Have portion sizes in mind

Gathering around the holiday table is similar to eating at a buffet. With a seemingly endless supply of delicious-looking food options, you’re likely to eat more than you normally would.

Sticking to healthy portion sizes keeps things in check. Remember a serving of meat or fish is about the size of the palm of your hand, and a handful represents a serving of starchy carbohydrates.

Tip 3: Seek out fruits and vegetables

Don’t turn up your nose at nutrient-packed foods like fruits and vegetables during the holiday season. Filling your plate with steamed broccoli and the like keeps your blood sugar stable and helps you feel full for longer. Divide your plate into fourths, and fill one quarter with vegetables and another quarter with fruit.

Tip 4: Avoid hovering around the spread

While it’s commonplace to gather around the food offerings during holiday events, it only increases your chances of having one too many helpings. It’s a better idea to gather in a room separate from the munchables.

Think of it as out of sight, out of mind. This way you can focus on friends, family, laughter, and good conversation instead of food.

Tip 5: Avoid multitasking

Doing other things during mealtime has been shown to increase calorie intake. When you divide your focus between multiple activities while eating, you’re less likely to pay attention to your body’s signals that you’ve had enough. This holiday season, turn off the television, cell phone, and other distractions during mealtime.

Tip 6: Keep a holiday food diary

Maintaining a food journal during the holidays can help you stay committed to your healthy eating goals. Keeping track of what you eat ensures that you remain accountable and increases the likelihood that you’ll make healthier choices and remain mindful of what you’re eating.

Tip 7: Lean on health-conscious friends

Having the support of health-conscious family and friends is invaluable during the holiday season. Surrounding yourself with others who make healthy eating choices goes a long way in keeping you on track during the festivities.

Tip 8: Choose indulgences wisely

Splurging on a slice of apple pie during holiday festivities is unlikely to cause serious harm when you maintain an otherwise balanced diet. Indulging in every cake, pie, and a sweet treat on the holiday table, however, can have a significant impact on your blood sugar and cholesterol, among other things. Decide ahead of time which treat to indulge in, and have only one serving to keep things balanced.

Tip 9: Make smart swaps

If you’re in charge of any of the holiday cooking, use some creative ways to make holiday staples healthier. Using skim milk, low-fat yogurt and light cream cheese is an excellent way to trim fat in dishes like macaroni and cheese and in baked goods.

Tip 10: Enjoy guilt-free drinks

Holiday beverages laden with sugar and fat add a significant amount of calories and less healthy ingredients to your daily holiday intake. Ration your calories wisely and stick to better beverages like herbal teas, fruit-infused water, and sparkling water with fruit spritzers.

At Monarque Health and Wellness Center, your well-being is our top priority. From weight loss to disease prevention, we’ve got you covered. To learn more and to schedule an appointment, call our office in Ashland, Oregon, or book online.

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