healthy-holiday-eatingThe holiday season is upon us! And with it comes many opportunities for holiday parties and meals that don’t always include the healthiest foods and are often loaded with calories. How can you navigate this festive, fun season without packing on pounds?

Here are a few tips:

  • Do eat a healthy balanced breakfast and lunch during the day prior to an evening dinner party. Include a balance of protein, carbs and fat; starving yourself all day will just result in binging at the party.
  • Going to a potluck? Bring a healthy, delicious low calorie dish for your contribution—veggie plate with dip, fresh fruit plate with yogurt and honey dip, shrimp with cocktail sauce; thinly sliced turkey, chicken or roast beef rolls with whole grain crackers or french bread and a variety of mustards.
  • Try lightening up on the alcohol by drinking wine spritzers in place of plain wine—add an ounce or two of wine to a tall glass of sparkling water and ice—you can have 2-3 of these for the same calories and alcohol as 1 glass of wine.
  • For a no calorie drink, try sparkling water with a twist of lemon and/or lime; add a splash of unsweetened cranberry juice or apple cider vinegar for an extra burst of flavor.
  • Holiday dinner at your house? Truly enjoy all your favorite holiday foods, but include lots of vegetables and fruit. I find that my guests enjoy the whole meal, fruits and veggies included. Many people are relieved to see that there are some things that are not loaded with fat and sugar in the meal.

Some holiday dinner ideas:

    • Appetizers: large veggie and fruit plates with dips, a big bowl of unshelled nuts with a nut cracker and bowl for shells next to it, plus small plates of your traditional appetizers (you will eat less of something that is served on a small plate than on a large plate).
    • Dinner: whatever you typically have, don’t worry about the calories, BUT add a big green salad + roasted veggies + fruit salad. Fill your plate at least half full of veggies and fruit, then add your traditional turkey, ham or roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, sweet potatoes…
    • Dessert: go ahead and have your pie or whatever is your tradition, BUT start with just a sliver, and eat it slowly. Go back for more IF you are truly hungry.

Get active!
Make it a priority to be active every day during the holiday season.

  • Park far from stores when you are holiday shopping—that extra work of walking across the parking lot is great activity.
  • Enjoy doing some holiday house cleaning—sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, raking leaves are all great calorie burners!
  • If you go to a gym, step it up and go an extra day each week.
  • Walk outside or use your home treadmill.

We definitely eat more than usual at holiday meals and social events, but we can mitigate the excess by having plenty of lower calorie foods and beverages available, and by getting regular exercise throughout the season!