Eating Healthy During the Holidays

STAT Health November 16, 2017

As we get closer to the holidays, many of us will be traveling and eating on the run – or simply overindulging at the dinner table. Temptation will unfortunately keep many of us from eating healthy. And the proof is in the (holiday) pudding. Typically, holiday-time means that most of us will gain between one and two pounds. So, what can we do to minimize the damage – without cutting out the fun?

Snack Smart When Traveling

First, make sure to be eating healthy while traveling. Instead of grabbing something at random before leaving for your destination, pack some healthy snacks that you enjoy eating and that “travel well.” These snacks include whole fruit (such as apples), nuts portioned into small servings, and granola bars. Having a healthy snack on hand is much better than grabbing a greasy, fast-food cheeseburger on the road.

Don’t Skip Meals

Second, before you get to Grandma’s house for that big holiday dinner, make sure you didn’t skip your other meals for the day. In order to eat healthy for the holidays, a substantial, fiber-rich breakfast will ensure you don’t arrive ravenously hungry – and then proceed to shamelessly overindulge on all sorts of goodies.

Use a Smaller Plate

During the actual feast, a couple of smart tips can help you to eat healthier. Since most holiday meals tend to be buffet-style, see if you can use a smaller plate. (Psychologically, it won’t look like you’re depriving yourself of any goodies while keeping your calorie intake in check.)

Keep it Colorful

Do you decorate for the holidays with a lot of color? Treat your dinner plate the same way.  Keeping it colorful means you will be more likely to load up with more vegetables rather than meats and buttery mashed potatoes. Think orange carrots, green beans, red tomatoes, and – well, you get the idea!

Don’t Over Stuff

Then, eat slowly and savor every bite. If you’re thinking of seconds, don’t rush. Give yourself 10 minutes to see if you’re genuinely still hungry. Frequently, the sensation of feeling full after eating is a delayed reaction between the stomach and the brain.

Finally, after dinner, get up and do something. This is a great time to go for a walk and catch up with family members. Or, play catch or a game of basketball with the kids.

That’s it! Have fun, enjoy, and get through the holidays happy, healthy – and trim.

Be sure to contact the STAT Health team with any dietary and health questions. We’re always here when you need us!