Healthy Holiday Eating Tips
11 Tips to Enjoy Holiday Meals Without a Side of Guilt
The holidays are a time to enjoy friends, family, and food – but many of us struggle with overeating during a time of abundance.
Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year celebrations, especially, are times known for buffet tables where individuals make 2-3 trips to load their plates with food. The holidays don’t have to be a time of anxiety and struggle with your diet.
Anita Wong, MPH, RD, CDN, CDE, Clinical Nutrition Manager at NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan, provides some simple and realistic tips you can use this holiday season to truly enjoy it, but not overdo it.
- Start your day with a glass of water in the morning.
- Eat breakfast! Research shows that people who start out with this “most important meal of the day” tend to consume fewer calories.
- Join your local Turkey Trot – walk or run with your neighbors the morning of Thanksgiving to get your body moving.
- Choose to sit or stand further away from the buffet table.
- Chew sugar-free gum to curb your desire to nibble too many hors d’oeuvres before dinner.
- If you are planning on drinking soda, cider, or alcohol, stick to water during dinner so that you can savor and enjoy your drink as a standalone – when combined with a meal, people tend to drink more and consume more empty calories from the drinks.
- Grab a salad plate instead of a large plate for your dinner. This will encourage proper portion sizes.
- Fill half of your plate with salad and vegetables. Those are the recommended guidelines for meals, and will be a great help for keeping your holiday meals in check.
- Put down your fork between bites and talk to people around the table – this will help to slow your eating pace and give your mind a chance to register when you are full.
- Excuse yourself from the dinner table once you’ve had enough to eat.
- After dinner, get some physical activity. Go for a walk and catch up with family members, play catch or a game of basketball with the kids, or dance to some music.
IF YOU ARE COOKING: Offer a variety of roasted vegetables for your guests. They are easy to make and delicious. Throw away turkey skin and serve the bulk of the white meat on top. Try using low-sodium chicken broth instead of butter in your stuffing. Mash the potatoes with low-fat milk or low sodium, fat-free chicken stock and skip the butter or salt. Leave out the butter and cut the sugar in half for your sweet potato casserole. Lightly top with mini marshmallows. This will shave calories and fat, not taste.