Diet and Nutrition
Tips for Healthy Eating during the Holiday Season
Although holiday weight gain is a reality for many people, here are a few strategies for avoiding those extra holiday pounds without shunning the festivities. You do not have to feel deprived this season ... just make compromises and better choices.
HEALTHY EATING HABITS
- Eat five or six small meals daily rather than the usual three meals. Frequent eating helps to control blood sugar and to curb your appetite.
- Eat a light, healthy meal a few hours before the holiday event. You are more likely to control your intake if you are not extremely hungry.
- Eat slowly and listen to your hunger cues. If you are not hungry, pass on the second helpings.
- Foods that are high in soluble fiber (such as fruits, vegetables, barley, oats, and legumes) slow the transit of food through the upper digestive tract, making you feel fuller for a longer time. So eat a delicious apple or crisp carrots as a snack rather than grabbing a handful of chips.
- When choosing from a buffet, sample a variety of foods in small portions. Skip the usual, familiar foods and choose the special holiday items instead. Also remember to control calories by using only small amounts of sauces and gravies.
- Choose your favorite dessert and share it with someone. Just a taste of your special treat may be enough to satisfy your "sweet tooth".
- To compensate for those high-calorie foods, increase your exercise over the holidays. Exercise can burn up a few calories, reduce holiday stress, and renew your energy level.
- Pass by those close parking spaces and park farther from the mall entrance. Then take a few laps around the mall before you begin your shopping spree.
- Before the holiday event, take a brisk walk around your neighborhood.
TOMORROW'S A NEW DAY!
The holiday season is the toughest time of the year to maintain healthy eating habits. Try to enjoy yourself without overindulging. Remember that moderation is the key to calorie control. If you eat more than you had planned, get back on track the next day and set realistic diet and exercise goals for a healthier New Year!
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Last Reviewed: Jan 24, 2011
Professor of Nursing
College of Nursing
University of Cincinnati