Healthy Holiday Survival Tips

Elisabetta Politi, RD, MPH, LDN, CDE - Nutrition Director

 Healthy Holiday Survival Tips

 

The holiday season just started:  it is the time of the year during which we all seem more vulnerable to eating more than what we are supposed to.  Better to go into it with a few smart tactics to enjoy yourself without overindulging.

 

Adjust your mind-set

Instead of seeing the holidays as a series of weeks, stretching from Thanksgiving until December 31st, see them as a few special days.  Don’t over-restrict your food intake on those special days, or you might feel deprived later.

 

Eat a good breakfast: 

A solid morning meal is more important than ever:  options high in protein and fiber, such as oatmeal, nuts and fruit, or spinach omelet with cheese will keep you full enough to turn down any late morning goodies.

 

Eat slowly and pay attention: 

Chew slowly and pay attention.  Notice the flavor, the texture and the consistency.  Is the food sweet, sour, bitter or savory?  Is the consistency smooth, creamy or chewy?  Practice the 3-bite rule:  with the first bite you notice that the food is a good as you think it is going to be.  With the second bite the food is still good, but not quite as good as the first bite.  With the third bite the food is not going to taste any better, so you might as well stop.

 

At parties:  Never go hungry

Have a high-protein snack, such as a hard-boiled egg or a couple of oz. of turkey before getting there.  At the party, focus on the atmosphere, conversation and friendship, not just on the food.  

 

If you are the host include a nutritious choice such as fruit, vegetable or a whole grains; if you are the guest bring a low-calorie dish to share.

 

Go nuts: 

Instead of having pie and desserts, which are made with lots of sugar and butter, nuts, a classic holiday treat, are nutrition powerhouse.  Since they are calorically dense, munch on them in moderation.   

 

Delay your drink: 

Wait until you have you had something to eat to enjoy your alcoholic drink.  A little food will slow down the absorption of alcohol and will make you more likely to make healthy decisions.  Keep a glass of sparkling water in your hand to prevent people from offering another drink.

 

Exercise: 

it is easy to get caught up in the holiday festivities and lose the focus or inclination to be active.  Be ready with a plan when it is “too late” or “too dark” or “too tired”.   Divide up your workout everyday.   A 10 minute work out is better than no work out at all.

 

Adjust expectations: 

Holiday can be a stressful time, so make sure that you take care of yourself by finding activities that are relaxing and rejuvenating.

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