Holiday Survival Guide: How to Avoid Overeating During the Holidays
Are visions of sugar plums dancing in your head – and reminding you of dreaded holiday weight gain? Never fear, putting on a few pounds doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of enjoying the season! While holiday gatherings do bring more opportunities to consume high-calorie foods – and overeat in general – with a bit of planning, you can still make healthy eating choices.
Tips on Eating at Holiday Parties
- Have a snack before hitting the town.Before heading out to an event where a meal is served, curb your appetite with a healthy snack. When you aren’t hungry on arrival, you can skip the appetizers and save your appetite for the meal.
- Bring healthy to the party. You can’t choose what other guests bring to a holiday gathering, but you can contribute a healthy option that will give you a go-to food choice, no matter how many other high-calorie foods are present. A veggie tray with dip makes a great appetizer, while fresh fruit is an ultra-safe alternative to sugary desserts.
- Choose food wisely. Before diving into a decadent holiday buffet or potluck dinner, inspect the offerings. Fill your first plate with leafy greens and vegetable dishes, or have a broth-based hot soup as a first course. By eating the foods that are best for you first, you can avoid eating too much of less-healthful foods for the main course.
- Take smaller portions of high-calorie dishes. We all have our holiday favorites – Grandma’s pecan pie and sweet potato casserole, anyone? Plan to enjoy these annual indulgences, but in small amounts.
- Don’t stuff yourself. By chewing slowly and pausing between bites, you are more likely to truly enjoy your holiday meal – and consume fewer calories in the process. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed.
In addition to not overeating, make time for exercise this season. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. Try to incorporate physical activity into the holidays, such as ice skating or walking while shopping with family and friends.
Healthier Alternatives to Traditional Holiday Dishes
- If you must bring a traditional holiday dessert to a gathering, try this recipe for Light and Luscious Pumpkin Pie from Eating Well!
- A nutritious Pumpkin Spice Smoothie can satisfy your pumpkin craving at breakfast.
- For a potato latke alternative at Hanukkah, try Spicy Spaghetti Squash Latke.
- Trade high-fat, high-cholesterol traditional eggnog for Dairy-Free Coconut Milk Eggnog.
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