The holidays are here and so are the goodies. It seems almost expected to overindulge during the holidays and then make New Year’s resolutions to improve health.
Seems a bit contradictory? Don’t just commit to being healthy for 46 weeks of the year while permitting holiday indulgences for six weeks; enter the holidays with a different attitude. Don’t disregard those special holiday foods – but don’t eat huge portions either.
When it comes to enjoying special foods, keep it to just the holiday. Parties and celebrations present a healthy eating challenge with ample opportunities to indulge and overeat.
Here are some strategies to achieve balance and moderation in eating habits:
• Don’t starve. Saving up calories during the day to indulge a little at the main meal is okay; however, don’t starve all day in order to splurge later. Prevent overindulgence by eating lighter meals during the day and have a healthy snack, such as a piece of fruit or veggies.
• Have a plan and choose wisely. At a party buffet, browse the choices before filling up the plate. Instead of nibbling throughout the event, fill up a small plate and eat in a location away from the food tables.
• Pace, don’t race. Focus on enjoying the foods. Eating quickly easily leads to getting second helpings. Socialize with friends and family, putting the emphasis on the people instead of the food.
• Limit alcohol. Mixed drinks may contain up to five hundred empty calories. Plus, alcohol tends to increase an appetite, feeding the temptation to overeat. Choose light wines and beers and use non-alcoholic mixers such as water or diet soda. Limit intake to one (women) or two (men) drinks per day. Also, watch out for other high-calorie holiday beverages: fruit punch, eggnog and sodas.
• Be a good example. If hosting, offer guests healthy options. Tasty choices include: veggies with lowfat dip, fresh fruit bites, whole grain crackers with lowfat cheeses, carved roast turkey and stir-fry veggies. Delicious desserts include fresh fruit, angel food cake, and lowfat pudding and mousse.
• Get active. Turn up the holiday tunes and get moving to burn extra calories. Rather than retreating to the couch after a large meal, gather a group and take a walk, enjoying outdoor holiday decorations and lights.
Remember, there are no “good” or “bad” foods; it’s only the eating habits that are good, bad, or a little of both.