While the holiday season is stretching earlier and earlier into October and, for some, September, there is no denying that we are solidly entrenched in the bulk of holiday time. With the visits, shopping, and celebrating that takes place from now to the New Year, eating and drinking can be an extra element to make the time special. The holiday season also sees a marked potential for weight gain. With a plan and a few reminders, you can tackle holiday season and stay healthy, while enjoying your time.
Plan of Attack- This applies to your entire day. If you know you are having a fun dinner out with friends or feasting with family, focus on healthy choices early in the day. Making sure you get in some fruits and vegetables since much of our holiday eating doesn’t include our healthiest food groups. When you get to your event, don’t ruin what you’ve already done, but enjoy in moderation.
Take a Look Around- Whether at a party or dining out, take time to consider all of your options. What provides flavor and fun, along with sensible portions? Which items are you most excited to try and what items can supplement your healthy eating? By considering the food, you can make better choices than just grabbing whatever is in front of you.
Alternative Activities- Take time to mingle at parties, holding conversations with those around you. By actively listening and chatting, you will occupy your mind with something more than nibbling on snacks. When possible, get up and take a walk. This is an especially great activity for family gatherings and will help little kids burn energy from all the sugar and excitement. There are great family and group games you can play with the right crowd, too!
Pace Yourself- You can slow down your eating to make sure your mind has time to register that your stomach is already full. Put your fork down, chew slowly, continue talking to someone at meal time, and take sips of water to help with this process. Eating, even while visiting, should be a full experience, so look at your food, taste it, and enjoy it!
Count What You Eat- That being said, don’t pace yourself by eating a large amount of food spread out over a couple of hours. When grazing we tend to forget what we eat. Fill your plate and enjoy it or keep track of how many appetizers you have eaten by holding on to the napkins or toothpicks as trays pass by.
Be Aware of Alcohol- Responsible drinking can be an extra layer of enjoyment during the holiday season, but it also can lead to extra caloric intake. Not only do drinks themselves add to the holiday pudge, but you may tend to eat more when drinking at parties and holiday functions. Limit yourself and stick to that number, making sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and to keep your thirst at bay.
Be Selective- Whether it is drinking or eating, don’t feel obligated to eat something just because it is there. We sometimes eat because we are bored or because it is a social activity. Other times we eat because we are guilted into trying something someone made for us. Feel free to say you aren’t hungry right now, but appreciate the offer or just pass by a food item all together. With an abundance of food, we can pick and choose what we really enjoy.
Don’t Forget to Snack- In a healthy way, snacking is important to avoiding excess weight gain. Often we are busy during the holiday season so we skip meals or run through a drive thru. Carry a healthy snack with you for long errand days and grab an apple or handful of raw vegetables before heading to your next party. Your stomach and mind will appreciate that you are helping them function better.
We hope all of our family and friends find ways to enjoy their favorite treats during this time, while finding ways to be healthier overall. For any issues you may have during the holiday season, contact us or visit us. We are open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm.