By Kahti Paydar | Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
The holiday season is around the corner and making it a healthy holiday isn’t as hard as you think! Check out these 10 tips from our Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Kahti.
Healthy Holiday Top 10 Tips
- Be realistic. The holiday season isn’t the time to lose weight or start a new diet. Instead, the goal can be to maintain your weight. Balance party eating with other, healthier meals. Eat small lower-calorie meals during the day so you can enjoy celebration foods without overeating.
- Don’t go to the party hungry. Keep your meals normal and nutritious during the day. Make sure you aren’t really hungry when you go to a party. Eat a small, low-fat snack like fruit or a bagel, or a protein-filled snack like chicken before you head out the door. This will help you avoid rushing to the food table when you arrive.
- Meet and greet. Conversation is calorie-free. Get a beverage and settle into the festivities before eating. Try sparkling water with a lime twist rather than alcohol or high-calorie drinks.
- Choose lower-calorie party foods. Have some raw vegetables with a small amount of dip. You can also offer to bring healthy food – like fruit and vegetables – to make sure everyone has something nutritious to enjoy.
- Choose your drinks wisely. Remember that alcohol is packed with calories. A holiday-sized mixed drink can have 500+ calories. Choose light beer over mixed drinks or mix with soda water instead of a sugary option. And remember to drink plenty of water because alcohol dehydrates the body quickly.
- Pace, don’t race. Pay attention to how quickly you eat and what you are eating and drinking. Savor the flavor by eating slowly and choosing your food carefully.
- Watch portion sizes. When we are celebrating and having fun, we don’t always pay attention to what or how much we are eating. Try to eat a variety of foods. A good rule is to keep proteins to about the size of the palm of your hand. Fill the other parts of the dish with as much salad or vegetables as you want. Your starchy carbohydrates, like pasta, rice and potatoes should just take up 1/3 of the plate. Stay away from seconds!
- Continue regular exercise. It can be harder during the holidays but make fitness and exercise a priority, but being active will not only keep extra calories away, it can also reduce the stress of social events and family gatherings.
- Choose your indulgences. Don’t waste calories on something that’s just so-so. But when it comes to your favorite foods, dig in and enjoy. Make every calorie count and enjoy the once-a-year pleasures.
- Try the 80/20 approach. About 80% of the time do the things that are healthy for you. The other 20% let go a little and enjoy a healthy amount of your favorites. Trying to be all healthy all the time can set you up for failure, so give yourself permission to enjoy! You’ll have fun and feel better at the start of the new year.
Keep your healthy habits throughout the holiday season by prioritizing nutritious foods: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins, and exercising and staying active. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy the fun and flavors of the season! If you need a little extra help or motivation, talk to a NOAH nutritionist.