The holiday season is upon us, which means an abundance of sweet and savory treats are also right around the corner. For many of us, these temptations can make it particularly difficult to maintain a healthy diet this time of year. With that in mind, we’ve created a list of healthy holiday eating tips that will allow you to indulge in your favorite treats without setting you back!
It’s important to realize that living a healthy lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to give up everything you love! It simply means that you should make healthier choices to help you progress towards your goals, not away from them. The healthy eating tips below will show you how to compromise without ever feeling deprived.
Healthy Holiday Eating Tips to Keep You on Track
1. Don’t Skip Meals Before the Big Feast
You may be tempted to fast before the feast to reduce your calorie intake. While this seems like a good idea in theory, it can backfire quite easily. Walking into a holiday dinner feeling absolutely ravenous can cause you to eat way more than normally would! To prevent overeating, it’s best to eat a healthy breakfast and lunch to set yourself up for success. Instead of starving yourself throughout the day, focus on eating plenty of protein and fiber.
2. Alternate Beverages
It’s hard to say no to delicious holiday coffees and cocktails all the time. If you’re in the mood for a drink, let yourself indulge, just remember this rule: Drink a full glass of water between every specialty beverage to stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water will help you reduce caloric intake and improve digestion for the food that you do eat!
3. Use a Smaller Plate to Control Portions
Eating off of a plate the size of a small platter can be damaging to your waistline. Often times at holiday gatherings, we get the urge to fill the plate to the max. Using a smaller plate will help to keep portions to an appropriate size, even if the whole plate is full.
4. Be Choosy with Your Splurges
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Before you fill your plate at the holiday buffet, ask yourself this question: Is this something that I can eat anytime, or is this item special? Things like breads, rolls, and mashed potatoes are readily available all year long. You can save a tremendous amount of calories by skipping these items and going straight for the turkey, ham, and casseroles that are unique to the holiday!
5. Prioritize Vegetables
Not only do we recommend filling your plate with vegetables before anything else, but we also suggest you eat them first, too! Veggies are fibrous and filling, meaning they’ll help you feel fuller faster. We know it can be hard to find veggies on the holiday table, so you may want to consider bringing a healthy side to the party! Check out some of these tasty, veggie-filled dishes:
- Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms
- Twice Baked Butternut Squash
- Orange Glazed Roasted Carrots
- Easy Crispy Parmesan Brussels Sprouts
6. Eat Slowly
This tip doesn’t just apply to holiday meals, but it will definitely come in handy this time of year! Slow eating allows you to savor every bite of your favorite fall and winter flavors, and it also keeps you from overeating. Focusing on fully chewing each bite will help you slow down, and it even assists in digestion later!
7. Savor Your Dessert
It’s funny how we can always find room for dessert, even after a big feast! Of course, if you’re going to indulge, the holidays are the time to do it. Looking over tables filled with pies, cakes, and cookies can make the idea of sticking to a diet almost impossible, so what do you do?
Think back to our fourth tip: Be choosy with your splurges. Pick one or two desserts that really call your name. Instead of taking a full slice of pie or cake, grab a sliver of each and savor it! You don’t need much to satisfy your sweet tooth. Then, be sure to eat it slowly and enjoy every second.