‘Tis the season for a flurry of holiday parties, where it’s all too easy to have second and third helpings of calorie-packed sugary or fatty foods—unless you have a plan for healthy eating.
And you do! Best of all: If you follow it, you won’t leave feeling deprived.
8 smart steps for healthy holiday eating
- Take the edge off your hunger – Eat a small, low-calorie snack—such as a piece of fruit and a slice of whole-wheat toast—before the party starts. If you arrive with a growling stomach, you’re more likely to overeat.
- Scope out the spread – Stay on track by checking out the food and making a mental note of your choices before you take your first bite.Yes, you can treat yourself—it’s the holidays, after all. But be selective. Decide on a few favorites and keep the portions modest. Sometimes even one taste satisfies a craving.
- Downsize your plate – If there’s a choice, eat from a small plate. It can help you control portion sizes and make reasonable portions look like more.
- Be strategic at buffets – Fill up on fruits, veggies and water with your first pass through. You’ll be less tempted by higher-calorie fare on a return trip. Another tip: Position yourself wisely. Move away from the buffet when socializing. You’ll be less apt to nibble mindlessly while chatting.
- Eat slowly and savor the flavor – Take the time to really enjoy your food. Focus on the taste and put your fork down between bites. Eating slowly helps keep you from overeating—and feeling uncomfortably full.
- Sign up for potlucks – Ensure that you’ll have a healthy appetizer or dish to enjoy by showing up with a platter of fresh fruit, raw veggies with a low-calorie dip or a low-fat version of a crowd-pleasing casserole.
- Socialize! Socialize! Socialize! – Concentrate on chatting and catching up—not food. And spread some holiday spirit.
- Balance “celebration calories” by moving more – Plan a pre- or post-party workout or activity. Maybe you can extend the celebration by taking a brisk walk with your whole family—and oohing and ahhing together as you check out the neighborhood lights.
What about office goodies?
At this time of year, temptation isn’t limited to parties. There’s a seemingly endless supply of cookies, candy and holiday treats in almost every office. How can you resist them?
Many of these tips apply to office treats all year long. Bring in your own healthy snacks. Some smart choices: plain air-popped popcorn, dried or fresh fruit, and microwavable low-sodium soups.
Enjoy some treats, but be fussy and stick to small portions. And whenever possible, put some distance between you and those goodies. If there’s a bowl of candy on a coworker’s desk, try not to walk by it. You’ve got this!
Get help making smart food choices
For more healthy eating tips, talk with an Adventist Health certified diabetes educator.
Author: LivingWell PDX Blog
Adventist Health is committed to creating a healthier Portland community.