It’s the most wonderful time of year! While our focus should be on the true meaning of the holidays and spending time with family & friends – all too often, food can become the center of attention. As visions of sugar plums, gingerbread, latkes, and yule logs dance in our heads, keep these four tips in mind to help you stick with your healthy eating habits during the holidays while still enjoying yourself. And speaking of dancing… make sure you dance, walk, cycle, skate, swim or do any fitness activity you enjoy throughout the holiday season!
Tip #1: Focus on what you love.
It is the pie? The sweet potato casserole? Grandma’s chocolate truffles? If there are many tempting foods at the holiday buffet, choose one or two that will be your special treat. Enjoy a balanced serving that won’t make you feel overstuffed. And if baking is what you love – share the love by offering to do the cooking for others, or giving treats away to friends and family.
Tip #2: Pick a perfect portion.
You’ve heard that “good things come in small packages.” It’s the same with food! Make your treats bite-size. Try using mini-muffin cups for baking, make cookies half-size, or portion out your favorite holiday nut/snack mix in single-serving bags. Keep the plate method in mind as you aim to fill half your plate with veggies. Remember, smaller portions apply to beverages too – use a smaller glass when it comes to holiday spirits, & keep your water bottle handy!
Tip #3: Eat mindfully.
How we eat is as important as what we eat. Pay attention to feelings of hunger before grabbing a snack or a second helping at dinner. Eat slowly and savor every bite of the holiday food. Being mindful & paying attention to what you eat will allow you to experience enjoyment from the food, and ensure you don’t overeat.
Tip #4: If you fall off track – begin again.
Too often, we beat ourselves up when we eat too much or don’t meet the goals we set for ourselves. Spend a moment to think about what may have triggered you to overeat, and how you can avoid it from happening again – but don’t feel guilt or shame. Just push forward and move on to the next meal.
Also, remind yourself of your “why” – why are you working hard to keep your healthy habits? Is it your kids, grandkids, your long-term health? Don’t wait for the New Year to start eating better, exercising more, or seeking out help from your doctor… start now. You can enjoy the holidays, and the foods you love, while keeping your healthy habits a priority.
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