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Between all the parties and holiday goodies this time of year, it can be hard to maintain a healthy diet throughout the holiday season. If you find yourself abandoning healthy choices in favor of sweets and high-calorie foods this winter, try these tips to keep yourself on track.
Portion control and calorie counting go hand-in-hand. If you eat less food, you are eating fewer calories. So before you indulge in your favorite fatty foods, try using a smaller plate looking at all of the food options before you fill up your plate. Doing so can help you plan how much food you will put on your plate and ensure you make room for fruits and vegetables. Here are a couple more tips to help you keep your portions smaller at your next holiday dinner party:
Eat your meals at the dinner table instead of in front of the TV. It is a lot easier to overeat when your attention is on something else. By eating your food at the dinner table, you can be more aware of your portions.
It wouldn’t be a holiday party without hot chocolate, apple cider, eggnog and holiday cocktails. Calories from sweet drinks can add up if you’re not careful. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water during the day. If you plan to drink alcohol, make a goal to drink a full glass of water between each alcoholic beverage.
From figgy pudding to sweet potatoes, it is essential to keep track of what you eat throughout the day. Be aware of when, where, why and how much food you are consuming. Although it is important to keep your body healthy, it is okay to indulge in festive foods during the holidays as long as you practice mindful eating.
One way to practice mindful eating is to document your calorie consumption. Try creating a food tracker on your cellphone or download apps like MyFitnessPal or MyPlate Calorie Counter to help you. The amount of calories you need depends on your age, weight, metabolism, exercise routine and gender. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 can help you understand what your daily calorie goal should be.
There are so many ways to stay active during the holidays. Shopping, ice skating, skiing, playing active video games, cleaning and putting up decorations inside and outside are some examples of things you can do to stay active.
Don’t skip meals to save up on your calories. Skipping meals can increase hunger, which leads to overeating. Instead, eat a well-balanced breakfast, have a light salad for lunch, and if you’re still hungry, eat healthy snacks.
You don’t need to sacrifice your favorite foods to maintain a healthy diet during the holidays. There are so many healthy alternatives to lighten up your meal for a guiltless holiday season. Volunteer to bring a healthy dish to the dinner table or, if you are hosting, make sure to include some vegetable and fruit platters.
You can also make your favorite dishes using healthier substitutions. For example, use skim milk instead of whole milk, applesauce or coconut oil instead of canola oil, and sugar substitutes instead of sugar. Another option is to thicken sauces using flour, cornstarch, yogurt and other materials instead of using additional fat.
“Just Enough for You: About Food Portions.” National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease
“How to Avoid Portion Size Pitfalls to help manage your weight.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Helpful Tips for Enjoying Healthy Holiday Parties “Calorie Control Council
The Live Better Team
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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.