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Healthy Holiday Cheer! Tips For Healthy Eating

November 3, 2019
Holiday Eating

The leaves are turning, the air is cooling, and shorts give way to long pants. All signs that the 2019 holiday season is coming up fast. While holidays bring joy and excitement, they can also cause stress as we plan and take part in holiday parties, dinners, family visits, and ongoing celebrations.

Workdays extend to nighttime shopping trips that force fast-food consumption and late-night eating. Exercise routines halt. And come mid-January, your savings account is down, but your weight is way up. Sound familiar? Well, the good news is this year can be different! How you ask? Read on!

Planning is part of every successful event. Eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy weight, especially during hectic holiday time, demands planning. Think about each day, see what is ahead, and stick to a game plan to keep on a healthy course. Here are some tips for getting through the season successfully:

  • Stay on track. That means keeping up with exercise routines or starting new ones. If you already walk in the morning or at lunch, keep at it! If you don’t, the holiday season is a good time to start! Exercise can keep stress levels down and your heart rate up. Both are needed for good health.
  • Do not skip meals. When you skip meals and hunger sets in it is hard to make good decisions. The body tends to crave fatty foods with a lot of calories when hungry.
  • Eat slowly! It takes time for the brain and the stomach to communicate. When we eat fast, as can happen especially when we are very hungry, we end up eating a lot more food than we would have if we slowed down. So, put the fork down between bites.
  • Drink plenty of water. Water is important for health. Drinking a glass of water before meals can help the stomach feel fuller faster. This will help control how much you eat at one time.
  • Focus on vegetables. Before filling your plate, first, look around to see what foods are available. Decide if you want the rice, bread OR pasta. If you absolutely must taste all three, limit the amount of each to one section of your plate. Fill at least half of your plate with vegetables, and the rest with fish, chicken, or meat. That is how you create a balanced meal!
  • Fiber first! When you eat, start with the foods highest in fiber such as vegetables, fruits, nuts, and beans. These foods are very filling and extremely nutritious. This will leave less room for desserts and sweets.
  • Limit the sugar! Juices, sodas, wine, and other alcoholic beverages add lots of sugar to your diet. And eating a lot of sugar can make you crave more sugar. Go for seltzer or sparkling waters. If a bit more good cheer is desired, have once ounce of wine or juice mixed with four ounces of seltzer instead of a drinking a full glass of wine.

Here’s to a healthy holiday season!

By Helene Rosenhouse-Romeo, RD, CDN, CLC, MPH Director of Ryan Health WIC Program and Nutrition