The holidays are approaching and that means it’s time for get-togethers with family, friends and…food! Although the holidays are a time to celebrate and rejoice, it can also be very difficult to stay healthy with tempting foods and treats hanging about every corner. According to the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Americans on average, gain about one pound during the holiday season. Luckily, there is a way to stay healthy this holiday season while also enjoying your favorite foods! Consider these tips before going to your next holiday party:
Don’t go to the buffet starving
If you know that you’re going to attend a holiday dinner party, make sure you don’t skip meals that day. It may seem like a good idea to restrict calories before eating at a dinner event, but this could actually cause you to overeat. When you deprive your body of food, your blood sugar levels drop, making you more hungry at dinner time. Remember to eat balanced meals throughout the day, that way you can focus more on enjoying time with friends and family versus focusing on how hungry you are.
Survey the scene
You don’t have to eat every food item served on the table. Scan the foods available and think to yourself which ones you find the most appetizing. The trick is to eat what you want without having to eat everything served.
Practice portion control
Living in a “supersized” day and age makes portion control one of the most difficult components to eating healthy. The trick to practicing portion control over the holidays is to focus on eating larger portions of healthier, whole foods and smaller portions of more savory, sweet foods. Imagine portioning your plate like this:
- Make ½ of your plate fruit and veggies
- Make ¼ of your plate protein (i.e. meats, fish, eggs & beans)
- Make ¼ of your plate grains or starches (i.e. rice, pasta, potatoes & breads)
Eat slowly and savor your food
It takes about 20 minutes from the time you start eating, for your brain to send out signals of fullness. Check in with yourself as you are eating and try not to eat too fast. Enjoy your food more, by learning to savor the flavor of every bite and giving your body time to register its level of fullness.
By Tyler Rolling, MS, RD