Holiday Eating Tips – How to Have Fun and Stay Healthy

healthy_holiday_eatingThe holidays are a special time for all, and you should take the time to indulge a little. However, at the same time you should keep your health in mind because it’s easy to be tempted into going overboard.

It all starts with Halloween and all the extra treats that are lingering in your candy bowl. Then we’re lead into Thanksgiving, where the average person will ingest over 3 times the number of calories that they should be eating, or even more.

Then the winter holidays come along. Family togetherness usually equals lots of snacking and appetizers and big meals. Also, don’t forget all the baked treats and adult beverages! Can you eat all of these things? The answer is yes, but in moderation.

Follow these tips to help you stay in control of your fork this holiday season:

  1. Go in with a Plan. Before you put yourself into temptation, tell yourself how much you’re going to eat. In the weeks following Halloween, save yourself 5-10 pieces of candy to eat. Give the rest away to coworkers and neighbors. For Thanksgiving and other family holidays, allow yourself to indulge a little on one item such as an appetizer or dessert – not both.
  2. Don’t Be Too Strict. While you may be tempted to be tough on yourself during other times of the year, the holidays are a time you should allow for some relaxation from the strict behavior. Don’t try to get through entire evenings without enjoying any of the food. Starvation and restrictive diets only work for so long until you fail and over-consume. Work on your moderation skills instead.
  3. Don’t Punish Yourself. Everyone makes mistakes. If you do slip up and overeat one day, in the long run it won’t make much of a difference. Just get back on track the very next day. Don’t be tempted to simply give up and continue the poor eating decisions. It’s when you have many bad days in a row that you can ruin a good nutrition plan.
  4. Watch the Alcohol Intake. It’s true; alcohol usually flows freely at holiday events. While you can enjoy a few drinks spread out over the evening, remember that calories add up. Consider alternating between alcoholic drinks and pure, refreshing water.
  5. Wear Tight Fitting Clothes. If you have some issues controlling your holiday behaviors, consider wearing some tight fitting clothes. Don’t make yourself too uncomfortable, but at the same time you’ll want to feel the reminder if you begin to eat too much.
  6. Plan Healthy Meals. If you’re hosting any of the holiday events, consider going with healthy alternatives to some popular meals. Healthy doesn’t always mean bland or unappealing. Get creative and try some new recipes.
  7. Remember to Take Breaks. During a long evening with family and friends, sometimes you’ll lose track of your eating habits. Make it a point to take breaks where you know there isn’t a plate or drink in your hand. Concentrate on the conversations you’re having instead.
  8. Eat Before You Go. If you’re off to a holiday event at someone else’s house, eat something healthy before you leave. This is especially important if you know you’ll be tempted by all the unhealthy treats that’ll be available. If you aren’t particularly hungry when you show up, you won’t feel such an urge to begin eating or go overboard.

Just remember to have a good time! If you’re bummed about not getting to eat everything that you want, concentrate on all the other aspects of the holidays. There are so many other fun activities to engage in that don’t involve eating!

Kristy Lee Wilson