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Eating Healthy During the Holidays

The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, for many, it also becomes a time for overeating and weight gain. According to the National Institutes of Health, holiday eating can result in an extra pound or two every year. Over a lifetime, holiday weight gain can really add up. The holidays don’t have to mean weight gain. Focus on a healthy balance of food, activity, and fun. By implementing a few simple tips, you can stay healthy for the holiday season.

Tips for healthy eating:

  • Try not to think of certain foods as “off-limits.”When you ban certain foods, it’s natural to want those foods more and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. Start by reducing portion sizes of unhealthy foods and not eating them as often. As you reduce your intake of unhealthy foods, you may find yourself craving them less or thinking of them as only occasional indulgences.
  • Think smaller portions. When dining out, choose a starter instead of an entree, split a dish with a friend, and don’t order supersized anything. At home, visual cues can help with portion sizes. Your serving of meat, fish, or chicken should be the size of a deck of cards and half a cup of mashed potato, rice, or pasta is about the size of a traditional light bulb. By serving your meals on smaller plates or in bowls, you can trick your brain into thinking it’s a larger portion. If you don’t feel satisfied at the end of a meal, add more leafy greens or round off the meal with fruit.
  • Take your time. It actually takes a few minutes for your brain to tell your body that it has had enough food, so eat slowly and stop eating before you feel full.
  • Eat with others whenever possible. Eating alone, especially in front of the TV or computer, often leads to mindless overeating.
  • Don’t skip meals. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack like raw vegetables or a piece of fruit to curb your appetite. You will be less tempted to over-indulge.
  • Survey party buffets before filling your plate. Choose your favourite foods and skip your least favourite. Include vegetables and fruits to keep your plate balanced.
  • Be careful with beverages. Alcohol can lessen inhibitions and induce overeating; non-alcoholic beverages can be full of calories and sugar.
  • Keep Moving. Being active is your secret holiday weapon. It can help make up for eating more than usual and reduce stress during this most stressful time of year. Get moving with friends and family, such as taking a walk after a holiday meal.
  • Get Enough Sleep. Going out more and staying out later often means cutting back on sleep. Sleep loss can make it harder to control your blood sugar, and when you’re sleep deprived you’ll tend to eat more and prefer high-fat, high-sugar food. Aim for 7 to 8 hours per night to guard against mindless eating.

Sources:

  1. Sutter Health CPMC http://www.cpmc.org
  2. Help Guide https://www.helpguide.org
  3. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov
  4. Self https://www.self.com