Eating healthy during the holidays can be challenging, especially when there are so many wonderful dishes to choose from. However, you do not need to give up your favorite dishes to maintain your health. By following these tips, you can enjoy both the food and your family without worrying about your health:
- Take Control Early- Be sure to eat a wholesome breakfast and lunch before going to your destination. If we skip a meal or two, our blood sugar drops. A low blood sugar leads us to overeat at our next meal, not to mention how it tends to make us grumpy and irritable. By spacing out meals throughout the day, our blood sugar stays steady and we are not as prone to overindulge at dinner.
- Remember Portion Sizes – Have you heard that everything is okay to eat in moderation? Every dish can be enjoyed as long as you keep to appropriate portion sizes. A good rule of thumb is to fill half your plate with vegetables, one quarter of it with ham or other meat, and the remaining quarter of the plate with a carbohydrate, such as noodles or mashed potatoes.
- Eat slowly and enjoy your food- Eating quickly encourages overeating. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to catch up to your stomach for that feeling of fullness. Try playing a family game or going for a brisk walk before dessert.
- Pay Attention to the Preparation- Foods do not always need to be flavored with heavy amounts of butter and salt. Try new seasonings, either dried or fresh, to help maintain a healthy heart and blood pressure.
- Save Calories, Drink Water- Specialty holiday drinks such as egg nog can be high in fat, sugar, and calories, especially if alcohol is in the recipe. Remember that certain drinks, like alcohol or sweetened beverages should be consumed in moderation.
- Indulging in a glass of wine with dinner is a better option than a mixed drink when it comes to calories.
- Save Room for Dessert- What are the holidays without apple or pumpkin pie? Enjoy a small sliver instead of a large slice or remove some of the crust to lower the fat and calories. Remember that even small bites here and there of different desserts allow calories to add up quickly.
- Move Away From the Food Table- When you’ve finished eating, put leftovers away and move out of the kitchen. This reduces the urge to overeat and allows more time with family and friends.
So go ahead and indulge in the special holiday foods you love. Enjoy the holidays by taking small steps to eat healthier options. From all of us here at Purdue Extension, have a healthy and happy holiday season!
Here’s to a healthier you!
For more information call Stephanie at the Purdue Extension Kosciusko County office at (574) 372-2340, or email at [email protected] Purdue University is an affirmative action, equal access/equal opportunity institution.