When it comes to the holidays, many people forgo their health and fitness goals.
They are often put aside until the New Year. This deferment can lead to unwanted weight gain. Instead of focusing on an “all-or-nothing” mentality of enjoying the holidays to the fullest and telling ourselves we will start our journey to our health and fitness goals in the New Year, a better option would be to focus on finding a healthy moderate balance during the holidays.
Here are 7 tips for indulging in your favorite holiday foods while still maintaining a health and wellness focus.
- Enjoy your favorite foods, but monitor portion control. It is okay to indulge in your favorite holiday dishes and treats. But, keep in mind the appropriate food portion control. It is also acceptable to say “no” to the foods you really do not enjoy. Remember these foods are available year round. You do not need to feel like you have to eat everything now as if you won’t have a chance to eat them again until the next holiday.
- Pace yourself. Another tip to keep in mind while eating your favorite foods is to make sure to slow down and truly savor the food. This unhurried approach may provide satisfaction after consuming one portion versus feeling the need to go back for more.
- Do not restrict food leading up to the holiday meal. Instead make sure to focus on balanced meals and snacks throughout the day preceding the holiday meal. Consuming a source of protein, healthy fats and fiber (produce, whole grains) for meals and snacks will help keep hunger and cravings at bay. Thus, it may reduce the likelihood of overeating later in the day.
- Incorporate physical activity into your day. Being physically active is more than just about burning calories. Physical activity and daily movement is important for both our physical and mental health. Not only is daily movement good for the body, but it can also relieve holiday stress.
- Include a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables. Having a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables readily available is important. If healthier options are ready to eat throughout the day or as an appetizer, they are more likely to be consumed. The nutrients and fiber in these foods provide the body with what may be missing in our holiday meals. Filling up on fruits and vegetables will also help prevent overeating during the main meal.
- Watch out for calorie-laden drinks. Without even knowing it, calories from liquids can add up quickly (including alcohol, juice, eggnog, etc.). Moderation is key! If you’re looking forward to a certain drink, consume one serving of it and make sure to drink water the rest of the day.
- Stay Hydrated. Consuming enough water on a day-to-day basis is important to stay hydrated, especially in the cooler months. A great goal to focus on is half of your body weight (in pounds) in ounces of water. For example, a person weighing 160 pounds would have a goal of drinking 80 ounces of water per day.
Here are a few healthier holiday recipes to try. Enjoy!
Chelsey Hegge, RD LD, ACE-CPT has a BS in Community Medical Dietetics. She has a passion for health and enjoys assisting people in leading healthier lifestyles by focusing on creating healthy and sustainable long-term habits while incorporating a balanced diet where all foods fit in moderation. Chelsey enjoys being active through lifting weights, walking and has completed several half marathons. In her free time you will find her trying new recipes, hanging out with friends and family, and spending time outdoors.
Contact Chelsey Hegge at (507) 287-9335 ext. 355.