Healthy Eating for the Holidays

During the holiday season, it sometimes seems like parties, dinners, and baked goods are around every corner. This time of year is for celebration (and a little bit of indulgence), but being worried about weight can take away from the enjoyment. It also doesn’t help that the season is kicked off with a national holiday dedicated to a dinner. Not gaining weight over the holidays does take some will power, but there is also plenty of wiggle room to enjoy your favorite seasonal treats without feeling guilty.

Here are a few tips on ways to maintain a healthy waistline during the holiday season:

 Don’t start a diet

The end of the year is probably the worst time to start a diet. The most effective type of diet is when healthy eating becomes a more permanent lifestyle change instead of a fad that only lasts a few weeks. The months where the majority of people cook and bake significantly more than the rest of the year are not the months when healthy eating should start to be a priority

Have a plan

Going to a dinner party and planning ‘to not eat so much’ is a very broad goal which can be hard to keep. A more realistic goal could be to choose one type of carbohydrate side dish instead of having mashed potatoes and stuffing in the same meal. Having a clearly-defined plan can help you make better food choices and not overeat.

And don’t forget to plan for dessert! No holiday party would be complete without a gingerbread cookie, so don’t deny yourself something sweet. Just plan to have one or two instead of a dozen.

Control portions

Weight gain is caused both by what you eat and how much of it you eat. It’s hard to control what’s on the menu for Thanksgiving dinner or neighborhood parties, but you can always control how much ends up on your plate. It takes time for our stomachs to register when we are full, so eating slowly will also help you gauge how much food you actually need to be full.

Try to work in some type of exercise

There is no need to run a marathon. Raking leaves in the yard and sledding are forms of exercise too. Staying active can make you feel better and can help with weight maintenance. It could also relieve any guilt you might have if your grandmother ruined your plan and made you eat multiple helpings of everything at dinner.

Starting small with walking or a football game with family may also lead to a habit of being more active overall, which is very good for your health.