The holidays are a time for rejoicing, and we often celebrate by overindulging in food and drinks.
Even though I’m a Registered Dietitian, I won’t be the one to tell you to avoid every temptation throughout the holiday season. Instead, I will give you some guidance on how to enjoy the holidays without feeling like a slug in the New Year.
Set realistic goals
First, understand that this is not a great time to try to lose a lot of weight. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you gain a pound or two, but be mindful of what you are eating each day.
Plan to maintain your weight by weighing yourself regularly. If you weigh yourself regularly, you can see a trend a developing and make changes before you find yourself shopping for stretchy pants at the end of December.
Another good tactic is to keep a food diary. If you know there’s a party coming up on Friday where you are going to splurge a little, then choose healthy snacks on Wednesday and Thursday.
Here are some videos of some healthy Christmas and holiday recipes you can make at home.
Make sensible substitutions
Some foods are purely irresistible – your grandma’s sweet potato pie or your sister’s homemade dressing, maybe. So enjoy a small portion of those foods. But make those calories count. Don’t waste hundreds of calories on a pile of potato chips just because they’re out on the table next to where you’re socializing. If you struggle with temptation, socialize away from the food tables.
Make some substitutions so that not every food that crosses your lips is full of empty calories. Choose grilled green beans instead of green bean casserole. Choose unbuttered popcorn instead of nacho chips. Add some seltzer and fruit to half a glass of wine to make a lower-calories spritzer.
The basic concept is to be mindful about what you are eating. A simple, no-fail and free strategy to improve your health is to stop and think about your food choices. Establishing this habit can have long-lasting benefits for your weight and how you feel.