We all know that time is coming: the holidays, which means lots of food! But how can you make sure your turkey is the only thing that’s stuffed this holiday season? There are some guidelines you can follow to help you make healthy food choices and limit tempting, high calorie foods throughout the season.
When you go to a party, think about the people there, not the food. Concentrate
on socializing, making new acquaintances, and having fun. Spend time conversing with relatives, friends, or other party guests. Think about what you are celebrating, and not just how great the food you are eating is.
Plan ahead. When you arrive at a celebration, check out all your food options before you indulge. It’s okay to indulge in a holiday treat every now and then, just spend your calories wisely. Here are some healthy food choices: turkey or chicken breast, tossed salad, steamed vegetables, mineral water, fresh fruit, plain potatoes and rice. Some foods to enjoy more moderately: gravy, pie, stuffing, cake, candy, cookies, eggnog, sugar-sweetened beverages, and high-calorie alcoholic beverages.
Here is a few more tips for avoiding holiday over-indulgence:
- Don’t arrive on an empty stomach. Don’t skip lunch to splurge on dessert. Skipping meals may cause you to overeat and consume more calories than you would have otherwise. Enjoy a small healthy snack, such as a bowl of cereal, fruits and vegetables, or handfuls of nuts.
- Offer to bring a healthy dish. This not only provides you with you a healthy option, and your host will appreciate all the help you give them.
- Avoid excess alcohol and snacks. Save your calories for your main meal. Alcohol costs you a lot of calories and does not provide you with nutrients. Also, try sitting more than an arms’ reach from foods that may tempt you.
- Select small portions. Moderation is key. Small portions allow you to control your calorie intake while also allowing you to sample more food options. If you want a second helping, go ahead.
- Eat slowly. Take your time, and enjoy the taste of your meal. Challenge yourself to be the last person to finish each course of the meal. Take small bites. Chew slowly. It takes about twenty minutes for your brain to send the message to your stomach that you are full. If you eat slowly, you are less likely to over-indulge at the dessert table.
- Leave the table when you are finished eating. If you linger at the table, you will be more likely to keep eating even if you are not hungry. Stay long enough to enjoy the meal, but leave it before you find yourself uncomfortably full. To keep yourself busy, offer to clean the table, wash the dishes, take a walk, or talk with friends and family.
For a wide variety of healthy holiday eating habits, you can visit websites like www.snac.ucla.edu. Most importantly, remember to always enjoy your holiday seasons. Don’t let food determine your fun.