eating healthy during the holidays

The holidays are upon us and with the holidays come lots of opportunities to challenge one’s willpower and discipline when it comes to dealing with food.  How do you navigate through the buffet table at your office party? What do you do when your favorite aunt makes her special pie for Christmas?

Well, here are my top ten tips for eating healthy during the holidays:

  1. Stay focused – continue with your schedule for meals and snacks as much as possible and don’t forget to include some appropriate holiday snacks in your meal plan.
  2. Size wisely – Use your hand to measure food, for example: both open hands is a serving of salad, while the size of the palm of a woman’s hand is about a 3-ounce serving of meat, chicken or fish. A fist is the size of about 1 cup of food, while the size of your fingertip is about 1 teaspoon, from knuckle to tip of your thumb is a tablespoon.
  3. Jingle, jingle, take time to mingle – talk to people at the gathering or party, but do it away from the food table and engage in meaningful but non-food-related conversation. Get to know the other guests in the room.
  4. Y.O. – Bring Your Own holiday dish to share with guests at the party so you will definitely have something to eat. You may even teach the host and the guests a thing or two about eating healthy during the holidays.
  5. Water, Water, It Should Matter – don’t forget to drink water or other non-calorie fluids. Your goal does not change just because it’s the holidays; it’s still at least 64 ounces daily.  Be careful with alcohol.  Mixed drinks can be full of sugar and calories.
  6. I Like to Move It, Move It! – Include physical activity in your holiday schedule planning. Make it as an important appointment with yourself, just like you would your doctor’s appointment.
  7. Power Up with Protein – don’t trade your protein for a high-fat substitute.
  8. Be Picky, Picky, Picky – Select food served only during the holidays, not something you can eat at any time. Inquiring minds want to know–ask how the food was prepared, politely, of course!
  9. No is not a bad word – Say no to not so healthy food offered to you. Guilt is not an option–do not feel guilty if you do turn someone’s offer down.
  10. Love yourself – Think about activities that can be stressful during the holidays–family gatherings, office parties, shopping, etc. You don’t have to accept every invitation to holiday parties or gatherings. Pick the ones you feel are most important to you and your family. Most of all, plan some “me” time, even if it’s just a few minutes in the tub with some soothing music and a nice warm bubble bath (with the bathroom door closed and a “DO NOT DISTURB” sign on the knob). Check out these tips that will help you be more mindful during the holidays.

Enjoy this special time of the year and DON’T JUST SURVIVE THE HOLIDAYS…THRIVE!

– Maria Tucker, MPH RD LDN CDE

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