Healthy Eating at Holiday Parties
The holiday season is a challenging time for everyone's waistline. The average American gains seven pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We all know those pesky pounds don't disappear along with the holiday decorations, but it is possible to enjoy the holidays without throwing your healthy habits out the window. You can indulge in your favorite holiday foods and still make it to the New Year wearing the same size (or smaller!). Follow these simple tips to keep your calories and weight in check during the holiday season:
- Do not attend a party on an empty stomach. Eat a snack with protein beforehand as you’ll be less likely to binge when not attending in starvation mode.
- Drink plenty of water before, during and after the party! Feelings of dehydration can often be confused with hunger pains so reach for a glass of water before reaching for those appetizers.
- Limit your intake of alcohol by alternating cocktails with glasses of water, substitute soda water for sugary mixers, or even try having a drink on the rocks.
- Use a salad plate as to promote smaller portion sizes, but do not try to get crafty and build a tower on top of your plate.
- Cravings can usually be satisfied within the first few bites, so try smaller portion sizes with those mashed potatoes or pies and have a glass of water afterwards to still feel satisfied.
- Do not stop exercising! Don't let your busy holiday schedule deter you from regular physical activity.
- Keep your food tastings to a minimum when cooking – avoid licking the cake batter spoon.
- Don't leave tempting treats on your kitchen counter – out of sight, out of mind! Freeze the most tempting of options because you’ll be less likely to indulge when it needs to be defrosted.
- Wear tighter clothing (but not elastic) so you’ll be less likely to overeat and be uncomfortable in unforgiving clothing.
- Savor your food by chewing slowly. You’ll feel satisfied without overindulging because your stomach has time to send signals it’s full before you overeat.
- Start with the healthy stuff. When you go to a holiday gathering, head for the healthy food first. If you fill up with the veggie tray and lean chicken skewers—you’ll be less likely to overindulge less healthy fare
- After you’ve finished eating pop in some minty gum or mints because having fresh breath will deter you from spoiling it with second helpings.
- Don’t skip meals. Whether you intentionally miss a meal so you can eat later, or just forget to eat during the holiday hustle-and-bustle, skipping a meal leaves you starving and often leads to overeating. Eat regular meals and snacks during the holidays so you never wind up ravenous and overdoing it.
- And most importantly: Don’t be afraid to indulge! Restricting foods completely only leads to unhealthy binging later, instead, enjoy those tasty dishes in moderation and don’t go overboard with servings.