Blog: Healthy Holiday Eating  

This “most wonderful time of the year” can be very challenging on a number of levels. While uncertainties and restrictions surrounding COVID-19 may prevent large family gatherings, it likely will not interfere with the temptation of holiday treats. In fact, due to the year we’ve had, those temptations may be harder to avoid than ever before.

But that doesn’t mean making healthy choices during the holidays has to be impossible. Far from it, actually, and our Registered Dietitians have some suggestions to help:

  • Stick to your schedule as much as possible. Avoid skipping a meal to save the calories for later. Doing that often leaves you feeling extra hungry, and therefore more likely to give into cravings—and probably bigger portions. Instead, choose healthy, nutrient-rich foods that will keep you full so you can enjoy some holiday treats without overdoing it.
  • Always remember, water first and veggies most. And speaking of staying full, make sure you’re drinking enough water. The Mayo Clinic recommends adult women drink 11.5 cups of water each day, and adult men should consume 15.5 cups. If you drink a cup of water approximately 15 minutes before each meal, and fill half your plate with veggies, you’ll be surprised not only at how quickly you fill up, but at how long you stay full.
  • Be choosy when it comes to drinks. Everywhere you look, there are decadent flavors intended to add a bit of spice to the season—but they also add empty calories and excess sugar. Rather than indulging in a heavy drink like eggnog, consider a holiday spritzer. You might even try adding a little holiday cheer to regular water by throwing in some mint or sliced fruit. It will feel like a special treat, but without any of the guilt. 
  • Exercise is key. Not only does it help burn calories, but regular exercise has been proven to combat stress, which can be at an all-time high during the holidays. Try to get at least 20 minutes of exercise each day to increase your energy level and help you sleep. Consider getting your family and friends in on it, too, with an after-dinner walk or a game of touch football.
  • Don’t be so hard on yourself! The holidays are a time for celebration, even in years as strange as this one. You should enjoy the traditional dishes and special treats that come around just once a year, but the key is not to overindulge—at least not very often. One big meal, or an extra piece of pie, does not mean you should give up, or disregard all the progress you’ve made. Each day is a new one, and it is never too late to start again. 

If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy diet during the holidays, or would like to discuss making some sustainable changes to your nutrition habits in the new year, consider making an appointment with one of our Registered Dietitians. They are currently providing both in-person and telehealth consultations, temporarily covered by most insurances. Please call 518-886-5121 for more information. 

Dec 20, 2020 | Categories: Health Information
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