8 tips for healthy holiday eating
Friends, family, and food! Just as the holidays bring families and friends together, they also bring together shared foods to feast on. While it may be tempting to load your plate with as many foods as possible, it’s important to make healthy choices.
“There are multiple holidays packed into just a few short months,” says Emilie Westcott, RD, Registered Dietitian at Dayton Children’s Hospital. “It can be overwhelming to see so much delicious food at all the parties and try to stick to your normal habits. However, with a little planning ahead you can have a healthy holiday season.”
Here are a few tips to keep you on track:
- Stick to Your Plan. Keep your normal meal schedule, even during party day. Skipping meals can make you hungrier and less able to make good food choices at your party. Try eating a little lighter at other meals, like fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to keep that hunger-monster at bay.
- Bring it. Bring a dish with an ingredient swap to a party. Reduce salt by using citrus, garlic, and onions to create tangy flavor. Swap minced cauliflower for white rice or mashed potatoes to cut carbs. Use whole grains like wheatberries, brown rice, quinoa, or buckwheat for fiber.
- Scout the Line. Make one buffet pass to scout what you really want on your plate. This helps keep you from overfilling before you’re through the line.
- Start with the Good Stuff. Hosting a buffet style party? Put the veggie-based dishes at the beginning. Everyone can fill half their plate with veggies first, then move to a quarter of the plate protein and the other quarter starch.
- Patience, Grasshopper. Hosting a sit-down meal? Leave the serving dishes in another room. Then, give yourself 15 minutes after finishing your meal before going for seconds. This helps you determine if you are still hungry and keeps you from feeling overly full.
- Right Size. Cut the desserts into much smaller pieces. You can try multiple desserts without having to take full portions of each. Also, remember to drink water as much as possible and try making sparkling water drinks with fruit and seltzer water.
- The Way it Is. Start a tradition with your family to get moving. Walk to the park, start a friendly soccer match or game of charades. From players, to scorekeepers, to cheerleaders, everyone can participate!
- Stay positive! There are likely going to be times this holiday season that you overindulge and maybe feel bad about it. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Every day is new, every meal is another opportunity to make healthy choices. Eat what you love, but keep your portions in check, balance your plate with veggies, whole grains, and lean meats, and don’t forget to hug all your loved ones this holiday season.