Holiday Stress: Eating Healthy
Holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and New Year’s bring to mind thoughts of family, friends, fun and food. However, each year, millions of Americans struggle to maintain their waistlines during the holidays while surrounded by tempting holiday treats.
By following the healthy tips below, you can enjoy all your holiday parties, while also staying in control of your weight.
- Do not leave the house on an empty stomach—it encourages overeating. Enjoying some lean protein and fiber such as grilled chicken breast with steamed vegetables and quinoa can help you feel satiated so you won’t feel like you have to piece together a meal out of unhealthy party food.
- Avoid standing near the food table at parties, since it’s a sure-fire way to overindulge.
- Make socializing your top priority; conversation will keep you occupied and away from the food.
- Limit your drinking because alcohol can increase hunger and lower your willpower.
- Provide a low-calorie alternative. For example, if you have volunteered to bring a dessert, bring fruit drizzled with chocolate instead of a cheesecake.
- Listen to your stomach. Reduce your portion sizes and stop eating when you feel satisfied rather than stuffed.
Cooking and Baking
If you are the one hosting, use that to your advantage. Hosting puts you in control of what will be served. For example, substitute high-fat or calorie-laden ingredients with healthier choices, such as by using plain Greek yogurt in place of sour cream or an egg substitute rather than a whole egg. Have plenty of vegetable options for snacking.
There can also be a downfall when it comes to hosting: the temptation to sample the food while you are preparing it. To resist the urge to snack while cooking, try the following tips:
- Chew a piece of sugar-free gum or sip tea to reduce your urge to sample while you cook.
- Prepare foods on a full stomach. You will not be as tempted to taste what you are making if you are full.
Cocktails and Beverages
Before you reach for the eggnog, remember that some mixed drinks may have as many calories as a dessert. Keep the following suggestions in mind when indulging in holiday spirits:
- Pace yourself by drinking water or seltzer between alcoholic drinks. The more alcohol you drink, the more your temptation to snack increases.
- Try ice water with lemon or LaCroix.
- Consume mixed drinks with club soda, aspartame-free diet soda or diet tonic when possible.
By following the strategies above, you can avoid putting on holiday weight and improve your well-being.