Healthy Eating Tips for the Holiday Season
Kathy McManus, MS, RD
Director of Nutrition
Life during the holiday season can be filled with endless temptations: dazzling buffets, rich hot cocoa, delicious desserts…and seemingly endless leftovers. The big challenge is to have fun and enjoy family and friends during the season while trying to eat healthy and prevent gaining weight. Here are some tips to help you be successful:
Do not arrive hungry to the party. Skipping meals before a holiday party in an effort to save calories for the big party will only make you overeat. Eat a light meal or snack before arriving to the party. A snack or meal that is high in fiber is ideal because it will help control your appetite and help you avoid overeating.
Choose the right plate. You are more likely to eat food that ends up on your plate. Thus, choosing a smaller plate will not only prevent you from filling your plate with more items than you really need, but it will also make the amount of food on your plate look larger.
Be merry. Spread holiday cheer by spending time enjoying the company of others at the party. The more you talk, the less time you will spend eating.
Balance your plate. Aim to fill half your plate with vegetables, a quarter with lean protein and a quarter with starch. Trim visible fat off of meats and/or remove the skin on turkey before eating.
Bring something to the party. Offer to bring an appetizer, side or dessert to the party. Not only will the host or hostess appreciate the help, but you’ll also have control over what goes into the dish.
Fill up on vegetables and fruits. Not only do these foods have plenty of vitamins and minerals, but they also contain fiber that helps make you feel full longer and may leave less room for other high-calorie foods.
Beware of holiday party traditional drinks and cocktails. One cup of eggnog can set you back around 360 calories, while hot chocolate can contain around 200 calories. The alcoholic mixed drinks and punches can easily contain more than 200 calories. Instead of drinking the traditional holiday eggnog and mixed alcoholic drinks, opt for a glass of sparkling water with a splash of your favorite juice or a wine spritzer.