Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays

It’s that time of year where clients and friends start asking me for tips about holiday eating.  Here are my top 10:

  1. Have a snack before going to your party. The ideal snack contains protein and a carb to keep you feeling full and energetic.  Have an apple with a stick cheese or a tablespoon of nut butter on a slice of whole wheat bread.
  2. Make sure you are well hydrated before going out.  Often people mistake thirst for hunger.
  3. Remember my motto? Always ask yourself “is this worth the calories?”
  4. Plan, plan and plan some more.  Plan to workout either the day of or the day after the Christmas party.  Plan your breakfast, lunch and snacks to allow for a few extra calories at the party.
  5. Alcohol contains a lot of calories.  The daily recommendation for alcohol intake is 1 drink for women and 2 for men (12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor).  The caloric range for 1 of these drinks is between 110-150 calories.
  6. Keep a food diary over the holiday season.  Studies show that people who journal what they eat, consume less calories.  If you end up packing on the pounds a food diary is the best thing to bring to a dietitian come January.
  7. Everything in moderation! Have a little bit of this and a little bit of that but not a whole lotta this and a whole lotta that.  For example, have 2 or 3 hors d’oeuvres, 1/2 glass of wine, fill up on salad with a TBSP of dressing eat only 1/2 the main course and finish off with a couple of forkfuls of dessert.  That’s it!
  8. Consider the fact that it is easier to avoid the extra 500 calories than it is to burn it off with exercise.  (If you weigh about 150 lbs, it would take you an hour of jogging to burn off 500 calories).  If you can exercise like a fiend during this season, all the power to you! However, if you really don’t have time or you are just not motivated then the easiest way to control your weight is to watch what you put in your mouth.
  9. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables (frozen and canned have optimal amounts of nutrients at this time of year over fresh) and high fiber foods like whole wheat pasta, real multi-grain bread and high fiber cereals to help combat the effects of SAD.  Complex carbohydrates boost serotonin levels.
  10. Have fun and remember that mindful eating is where it is at!
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