The holidays are a time for celebration, family, and, let’s be honest, food. Lots of it. From Thanksgiving turkeys to Christmas cookies, it can be incredibly challenging to maintain portion control in such festive scenes.
When you're going to a holiday meal (or not eating one of our delicious meals), fear not. With the strategies below, you can keep your health goals while still enjoying good food and good company!
- Plate Smarter, Not Harder
Switch out the big dinner plates for smaller ones. Research suggests that using a smaller plate can help you feel satisfied with less food. A full small plate can seem more satisfying than a large plate with the same amount of food spread out.
- Veg Out First
Begin with a plate that's half-full of vegetables. Non-starchy veggies like leafy greens, carrots, and peppers are low in calories but high in fiber, which can help you feel full. So, pile on the veggies before you reach for the meats and treats.
- The Art of Eating Mindfully
In our fast-paced world, meals can become another task we rush through. Slow down. Take a moment to savor the flavors and textures of your food. After all, it's the holidays and holiday meals have some of the best-tasting foods!
It takes your brain about 20 minutes to register fullness, so by eating slowly, you're more likely to listen to your body and know when it's full.
- Simplify Your Selections
A common pitfall during holiday meals is wanting to taste everything. Instead, be picky. Choose the dishes you love the most or the ones you only get during the holidays, and skip the everyday dishes.
- Beverage Awareness
Holiday drinks—from eggnog to holiday punches—can be full of sugar and empty calories. Keep an eye on your beverage intake and consider water, seltzer, or unsweetened teas as alternatives.
- Treats: Choose Wisely
Decide on one or two holiday treats you look forward to all year and allow yourself to enjoy those in small amounts. You'll satisfy your craving without overdoing it.
- Pre-Party Strategy
Heading into a holiday feast on an empty stomach can lead to overeating. Have a healthy snack, like a handful of nuts or some Greek yogurt, before you arrive. This can help you avoid piling your plate too high.
- Keep Moving
Incorporate some form of physical activity into your holiday routine. A family walk or a quick session of yoga can help you stay active and balance out some of the extra calories consumed.
The holidays should be enjoyable, and food is a big part of the celebration. With these strategies, you can take pleasure in the holiday festivities without losing sight of your health goals. Remember, balance is the key, and it's the holidays! Enjoy your food and spending time with loved ones.