Extra comfort foods, party snacks and more cocktailing can lead to extra weight gain over the winter. These tips on ways to eat healthy at the holidays will get you through!
The Holiday Eating Mindset
- The holiday season is filled with food. Realize that there are several weeks where you’ll be part of fancier, fuller meals, repeated several times. Count on many get-togethers with neighbors, delicious restaurant meals, and more—plan on the chance to eat and drink a lot more than usual.
- Each occasion is only one day. So, even if you did consume twice as much as you normally do at grandma’s house or at the office holiday party, you can recover from that and bounce back quickly. Because it takes more than one day to gain a pound of real, lasting body weight.
- Enjoy special treats within reason. Consider home cooking, holiday baking, gift baskets and more to be real treats—special occasions you can enjoy on the day of the party, but also not to overindulge on. Cookies alone can be a big issue if you have a sweet tooth, so while you don’t have to avoid every temptation you’ll face in the next several weeks, set your mind on moderation of special treats.
Holiday Eating Strategies
- Use the 80/20 rule. The more you can stick with the same routine and dietary guidelines that work for you, the better off you’ll be in the new year. We all know that it’s harder to do with so many special occasions stacked up in a row, but those can be considered about 20% of your holiday season. Eat healthy the other 80%.
- Cut out the worst offenders. An easy-to-handle strategy for maintaining during this season, without feeling deprived, is to look for alternatives for some of the “worst offenders” you might encounter, whether that’s eggnog, cookies or candied yams. Instead, focus on enjoying items that don’t come with such a high “cost” in terms of calorie, fat, sugar and sodium content.
- Stay aware of your triggers. You can enjoy special treats for special occasions, but for many people certain foods trigger hunger and/or cravings. The biggest problems tend to circle around baked goods and candy, other simple carbs, and alcohol. It can be hard to stop consuming them once you get started!
Holiday Eating Best Bets
- Turkey breast without the skin—you can eat a generous portion!
- Simply prepared roast beef, trimmed, sauce on the side
- Green veggies roasted, sautéed, or steamed, with lemon, garlic and herbs for flavor
- Sweet potatoes baked, roasted, or in a light mash
- Mashed cauliflower for low carb potato sub, or opt for light/small portion of potatoes
- Cranberry sauce made with fresh whole cranberries, roasted veggies with herbs
- Au jus or fat skimmed from limited portions of gravy
- Small portions of baked goods and cocktails—enjoy bites and sips
- Toppings like crispy shallots, mushrooms or goat cheese instead of gravy, butter or cheese sauce