Ask an RD: 6 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

dinner-togetherThe holidays are right around the corner, which means large gatherings with plenty of food and drinks. Every year, my patients tell me they throw out their “diets” during the last few months of the year, or “fall off the horse” one too many times. But this doesn’t have to be the case. Indulging and sharing your most treasured culinary traditions with close friends and family actually does fit into a healthy lifestyle.

Here's 6 tips to help keep healthy eating habits at the forefront of your mind while you relax and enjoy the holidays. 

  1. Snack before heading to gatherings. We all know that large group gatherings are going to have plentiful amounts of food. Have you ever heard of the advice to never grocery shop on an empty stomach? The same applies here. With something in our stomachs, we’re more likely to make sound and healthy decisions. 
  2. Bring a healthy item to your potluck. Help add some variety to the nine plates of potatoes by bringing a healthier variety.  This ensures that there’s at least something to balance out all the heavy loaded dishes. 
  3. Careful with the cocktails. Holiday cocktails are an easy way to unknowingly drink way too much sugar. Enjoy them in small quantities but be careful not to overindulge. Try drinking a glass of water between any/all alcoholic or sugary beverages. Your lack of headache the next day will thank you! 
  4. Tour for your taste buds. With such a variety of foods and desserts at large gatherings, it’s a great opportunity to enjoy a little bit of everything so we can satisfy our cravings without overindulging. Are there five different kinds of pies at the dessert table? Instead of having 5 slices, have a small amount of each kind that ends up being equivalent to a full slice. 
  5. Walk it off. If weather permits, take a stroll after your big meal of the day. It’s easy to want to snuggle into a warm winter's nap, but you’ll feel significantly better if you move your body a little bit after a big feast. 
  6. Enjoy it. Don’t beat yourself up if you had two servings of cheesy potatoes instead of one. Holidays are a great time to enjoy food with family and friends. There will always be time to stay disciplined with healthy eating and exercise, but we only get a few times a year to celebrate with the ones we love. Losing balance is sometimes part of living a balanced life. 

Looking for more personalized recommendations?  Book a chat with one of our Registered Dietitians to get the New Year started right!

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