7 Tips For Successful Holiday Eating

Written By: Sara Stickney Dan, MBA, RD, LD/N

It is estimated that the average person, by the time they get through the holiday season, will have gained up to 10 pounds! That amount of weight gain can take the Christmas cheer out of most of us.

What to do? Avoid holiday parties? The Family Get Together? The annual New Year’s Celebration at the neighbors? Most of us don’t want to swear off the holiday celebrating but cringe at the thought of being ten pounds heavier come January 2nd.

Some simple tips can help you enjoy your time with family and friends while not adding to our waist line.

7 Tips For Successful Holiday Eating

1. Practice Mindful Eating: We often think about what we are going to wear or who we may see at a party but do not give consideration about what we may eat. Plan ahead. Offer to bring a lighter dish. A friend once shared with me she that always offers to bring roasted vegetables to parties she attends. She finds it helps her make better choices and that others enjoy her dish as well.

2. Stop Before Seconds: It takes 20 minutes for your stomach to communicate to your brain “Hey! I am full please stop!” Take a break and socialize before heading back for seconds and you may find that you don’t go back for a second helping.

3. Watch the Portions: Serving sizes are always smaller than what we realize. A simple party strategy is to cut everything by half (i.e. serve yourself half of what you normally take) and don’t go back for seconds unless follow #2. Be careful with the bowl of nuts at the table- they are healthy but packed with lots of calories per serving. A serving size is often 6 – 10 nuts depending on the type. Standing next to the bowl of mixed nuts and openly grazing is opening the door for taking in lots of calories before you realize it.

4. Veggies, veggies, and more veggies: Mom was right in with her age old advice so put lots of them on your plate, especially if they are fresh ones. Vegetables add fiber and can make you feel fuller without adding extra calories or fat.

5. Watch Out for Emotional Eating: While the holidays can be a time of joy for most people they can be a time of stress and sadness for others. You may miss a loved one who is no longer with you or just feel over-committed with holiday activities. If you find you are eating to comfort yourself figure out why?

6. Get Some Exercise: Exercise is a critical factor for having a healthy body. Take a walk or bicycle ride, it helps burn calories and reduces holiday stress which can lead to over eating. I like to use the free on demand walking programs that many cable companies provide – you can walk a mile or two without leaving the comfort of your own home.

7. Do Not Give Up: If you overindulge at Thanksgiving, do not concede defeat and eat your way to New Years Day. Start working on eating better the very next meal. Small changes can make lasting results. Remember – you are special and valuable no matter what your size!

The holidays are a time of celebrating and looking forward to the new possibilities that 2012 will hold. Eating is for us to fuel our bodies to enjoy life. Make a commitment to start today to be a healthier you during this holiday season.

Written By: Sara Stickney Dan, MBA, RD, LD/N

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