When it comes to watching our holiday eating, most of us have great intentions — light eggnog, more veggies and dip than buffalo wings and perhaps just a single After Eight instead of two (or three …). But when the sugar plums have already begun to cut a rug, eating healthy over the holidays can be a challenge.
However, by following a few simple tips, you’ll not only have plenty of opportunity to celebrate and have fun over the holidays, you’ll be able to start the new year off on the right foot and the right skate!
First off, devise your pre-event eating strategy. Revisit it each time you have an event or family gathering. If your events are usually in the evening, make sure that you eat really well during the day so that you have a little bit of flexibility in the evening. Think of eating all four food groups at both breakfast and lunch, and have a healthy snack before heading to the evening celebration. Most importantly, do not starve all day because you plan to overeat at night. This is almost a guarantee for storing all of that extra food as body fat!
Next, you need to choose some eating strategies for when you’re at your holiday event:
- Survey all of the foods before making your choice. Choose the ones that you really want most and save the regular foods for a different day. The ones that are the most special are usually homemade and the best part of those foods are the first few bites. No need for huge portions!
- Slow down! Studies show that fast eaters consume more calories in a day than those who savour each bite.
- Don’t hang around the food tables. Just being in close proximity to food causes you to eat more than you need. Go for a walk outside or play a game in another room.
- Cover half of your plate with vegetables. Studies show that those who put the vegetables on their plates before the meats and grains consume an average of 150 calories less than those who put the vegetables on their plates last.
- Don’t forget that most beverages contain calories too! Choose mostly water.
- If the dessert that you chose doesn’t taste as good as you thought it would, stop eating it and get something else. Otherwise, you’ll likely eat two or more desserts!
Last of all, ask yourself:
- Are you distracted by all of the good foods around you?
- Are you eating these foods because you’re actually hungry?
Since it is the holidays, you want to enjoy your time with friends and family. So focus on what you want to eat, rather than what you want to avoid. Choose to eat the foods that are delicious and really worth eating. Savour each bite and take in the tastes and smells. If you eat your meals and desserts mindfully — without many distractions — you are more likely to listen to your body’s signals of fullness. You will, therefore, leave your events feeling satisfied and ready for your next activity!