10 TIPS FOR BALANCED HOLIDAY EATING
1. Start with a vegetable: Starting meals with a vegetable-based soup or salad can help fill us up earlier in the meal. Try to make vegetables half of your plate.
2. Enjoy your favorite foods: Choose foods you really love. Eat mindfully, slow down, and savor them. Notice the smell, texture, taste, and how the food makes you feel. Taking the time to enjoy these foods will help give your body the time it needs to recognize when you are comfortably satisfied.
3. Stay hydrated: Try to drink at least 8 glasses of liquid per day. Sometimes we think we feel hungry when we are actually thirsty. Choose low or non-calorie beverages over sugar sweetened beverages. If you choose to drink alcohol, drink in moderation and alternate each drink with a glass of water. Sugar sweetened beverages (juice, soda, alcohol) provide mostly empty calories.
4. Don’t skip meals: This will make it more difficult to manage your blood sugar and could increase your chances of overeating later.
5. Try healthier substitutions with your recipes: When baking, replace some of the oil and/or sugar with ingredients like applesauce or yogurt. Use low fat milk and cheese, choose lighter versions of butter spreads and sour cream.
6. Be mindful of portion sizes: Try using smaller cups, plates, and serving utensils. Also, try to avoid going back for seconds if you are no longer hungry.
7. Move: Try taking the stairs when possible, dance at parties, take 15-20 minute walks after meals. Increasing physical activity can help to improve our mood and increase the likeliness of choosing healthier food behaviors during the day. Sledding, shoveling, building a snowman, and ice skating are ways to stay active in cold weather.
8. Manage stress in a healthy way: Find non-food ways to deal with stress. Meditate, go outside and walk the dog, play soothing music, practice deep breathing, take a bubble bath, do your own pedicure or manicure, make a gratitude list, and schedule some down time.
9. Make sure to get enough sleep: We tend to choose foods higher in fat and sugar when we are sleep deprived. Try to get at least 7-8 hours per night of quality sleep.
10. Lose the guilt: The holidays are a time of celebration. If you do go overboard, just try to get back to your balanced eating habits as soon as you can.