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Tips for healthy eating during the holidays

Christmas themed dinner table

The Holiday season is a time for fun, family gatherings, parties and food, especially food. With so many sweets and treats on almost every holiday table, it can take a ton of effort to eat right and stay healthy. To resist temptation and give your body a generous gift this season, here are a couple of tips to eating healthy during the holidays.

Portion control is everything

A great way to continue healthy eating during the holiday season is to have a simple strategy of portion control. Choosing to skip or even limiting a certain type of food can be tough, so try doing the next best thing! Kathleen Huntley is a Senior Health Educator with Kaiser Permanente and suggests that, “If there’s a particular sweet or comfort food you’re really looking forward to, rather than trying to make it healthy, just have a little less than you normally would.”

Have a plan beforehand

Before you head out to that Christmas gathering, knowing ahead of time of what treats are likely to be available can be a viable option. “If there’s a particular sweet you’re looking forward to eating, plan around that,” says Huntley. “Tell yourself that if you’re going to have a certain food, make sure you make better choices for other foods on your plate.”

Speaking of healthy plates

Think about what foods you want to have at your holiday gatherings. Imagine the certain proteins, veggies and carbs you want to have. Now divide that plate up with a choice from each food group. If you’re going to choose to have a holiday dessert, avoid having a sugary drink or something that is fried. Another great thing you can add to your plate is a salad, which provides fiber and is a great substitute for bread.

Are you sure you aren’t thirsty?

When we have something to eat or crave a certain type of food, it’s not necessarily hunger that’s causing the urge, it can be dehydration! So, continue to drink lots of water and add a citrus such as an orange or lemon to help cut the cravings.

Focus on the fun, not the food

While food is a major factor in the holidays, it isn’t the only factor. If you’re organizing a holiday get together, try to plan it around something that doesn’t revolve around food. Huntley suggests hosting a family scavenger hunt, going up to the snow or even on a car ride to look at Christmas lights.

Don’t stop exercising

In fact, increase your exercise level during the holidays. “This time of year can be a really stressful time,” says Huntley. “So besides the benefit of working off a few of those extra calories, exercising is a great way to relieve stress, help you sleep better at night and renew your energy levels.” A couple ways you get in some exercise can be going for a walk around the neighborhood or if you’re present shopping, park in a spot a little further from the store. You can also take a lap or two around the mall before you begin your shopping!