We all have our favorite holiday foods or drinks—green bean casserole, eggnog, prime rib and of course Grandma’s Christmas cookies. When it comes to eating healthy, this time of the year can be a challenge. But it is possible!
First, consider setting yourself up for success. What I mean by that is when you know you have an event or special dinner coming up, try not to arrive with a large appetite. When we are very hungry it is so much harder to make good decisions and control our portions. Our natural inclination is to “save up our calories” for later, but this can backfire on us when our eyes are bigger than our stomachs. Eat consistent meals or snacks every few hours that include fruits, veggies, and lean protein. These are probably not days to have that extra peanut butter cup, but they certainly aren’t days where you should have to skip a meal.
Setting yourself up for success also means having a game plan. Your plan may be to fill up on fruits and vegetables rather than calorie-loaded entrees or desserts. Even when eating away from home try to include veggies or fruit at your meal. Fruit and veggies are high in fiber to fill you up, low in extra calories and pack a big punch of vitamins and minerals. Another plan might include drinking a glass of water before your meal. Water is the gold standard for beverages, which is where we also sometimes run into problems.
Extra sugar and calories tend to sneak into our holiday meals via beverages when dining away from home. Think about how much more quickly and easily we can drink a glass of juice versus the time it takes to eat an orange. Eggnog, hot chocolate, alcohol, juices, and soda all have added sugar and added calories that we don’t need. Plus, most of us would rather eat our nutrients.
If you have been losing weight, congratulations! Often, the holidays can be a scary time when you have been reaching your goals all summer and fall. It’s also okay to revise your goal to a slower rate of weight loss or even maintenance through the holidays.
Remember, one meal won’t make or break anything, but the holiday season lasts for a few months and small bites here and there can add up. Keep your expectations realistic, and by all means…enjoy your food!
About the author.
Abbey Bubolz is a registered dietician at HFM Nutrition/Diabetes Center. For more information about the HFM Diabetes Center or to make an appointment, call (920) 320-4576.