How Can I Eat Healthy During the Holidays?

All of the candies, cookies, and dinners that pop up around the holidays can throw a wrench in your healthy eating goal. But the good news is that you can still enjoy your favorite Christmas treats without spoiling your healthy diet. Keep these tips in mind over the holiday season so that, come the New Year, you’ll be well on your way to reaching your fitness goals!

1. Keep Portions in Check

One of the most important holiday eating tips to remember is that smaller portions are always better, especially if you’ve got multiple Christmas dinners to attend. Sure, you can stock up on your favorite once-a-year goodies, but only eat a small serving.

Wait 15 to 20 minutes before eating seconds. It takes this amount of time for your brain to tell your stomach that you’re full.

2. Practice Mindful Eating

Slow down and enjoy what you’re eating, rather than eating it as fast as you can while thinking about what you’re going to have next. Enjoy the entire experience, from conversing with family and friends, to the beautiful holiday decorations on the table, and of course the taste of the food.

3. Use a Food Journal

Good old-fashioned pen and paper works for this, or use one of the many free mobile apps out there to help you keep track of what you’re eating. You might be surprised to find out how much you snack throughout the day, especially if you’re at home preparing food all day.

4. Pick and Choose When to Indulge

Eating healthy over the holidays doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to stay far, far away from the dessert table. But it does mean that you’ll need to practice some healthy decision-making and self control when it comes to choosing which sweets you’re going to try and which you’ll let pass. If you know that Grandma’s home-baked pecan pie is a must-have for Christmas, maybe skip the leftover pumpkin pie you were going to have before you left.

5. Don’t Sit Next to the Snacks

If you’re seated in front of chips, cookies, and pretzels, you’re more likely to absentmindedly munch on them while you wait for dinner or while you catch up with family members. Position yourself farther away from these goodies to help you rein in your holiday sweet consumption.

6. Watch What You’re Drinking

Drinks like eggnog, alcohol, sugary cocktails, and pop can all rack up the calories and sugar quickly. Don’t be fooled into thinking you haven’t had a sweet when you’ve really had it to drink already.

7. Don’t Skimp on Exercise

Just because it’s the holiday season doesn’t mean you should give yourself a free pass to eat and sit on the couch nonstop for a week. Even if it’s only around the block, get up and go for a walk after a big Christmas meal. Even better still, take a long-lost cousin with you and catch up while you get some exercise in before it’s time to open presents!

In Summary

With a little planning ahead and mindfulness, you can have your Christmas cake and eat it, too – just as long as you keep these healthy eating tips in mind!