Eat Healthy And Still Be Merry This Season

Healthy holiday food.For most Americans, the holiday season is a feasting season, a time to savor the tradition of sharing wonderful meals and sweet treats with family and friends. Making healthy food choices at this time of the year is challenging.

According to the National Institutes of Health, holiday eating can result in a weight gain of one to two pounds. Over the course of a lifetime, those extra pounds can really add up.

The holidays don’t have to be a time to gain weight. With a healthy balance of food, activity, and fun, you can enjoy the season without regret.

  • Be realistic. Don’t plan to lose weight during the holidays. Focus on maintaining your current weight.
  • Get moving. Exercise helps to relieve holiday stress and can help partially offset increased holiday eating.
  • Plan ahead. Every holiday table features a wide variety of food so choose healthy foods first. Offer to make a healthy dish to share with family and friends.
  • Eat before you feast. Avoid arriving at a party famished so you aren’t tempted to overeat. Eat a little something beforehand and drink one or two glasses of water to feel fuller.
  • Avoid temptation. Position yourself far away from the buffet table, and focus on spending time with family and friends instead of the food.
  • Change it up. Use ingredient substitutions to make your favorite recipes healthier. For example, ditch the fat in dips and dressings by using fat-free or low-fat yogurt instead.
  • Stuff the turkey, not yourself. Sit down, relax, and enjoy smaller portions of your favorite holiday treats. Eat just until you are satisfied.

If you do overindulge, get back on track the next day with lighter meals. Remember: It takes 500 calories a day (3,500 a week) above your normal consumption to gain a pound. Just something to think about when you’re tempted to overindulge.

Sources: American Diabetes Association, National Institutes of Health

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