How to Savor Holiday Flavors and Sip Better, Guilt-Free!
The holiday season is officially upon us! For most of us, that means an abundance of food-focused parties and celebrations, making it tempting to abandon healthy habits.
The good news is…overeating at just one meal, one time per year will not dramatically change your waistline. Learn how you can savor the flavors of your holiday festivities without sacrificing your health goals with a few tips from GMM Registered Dietitian, Alissa Palladino.
Fuel for Your Party
While it can be tempting to “save up” calories and skip breakfast and lunch before a big holiday meal, arriving famished can set you up to overeat. Instead, have a small protein-packed snack a few hours beforehand to take edge off of your hunger. This way, you have enough fuel to make better decisions about the portions on your plate.
- A handful of almonds or your favorite nut
- Greek yogurt
- An apple with a spoonful of peanut butter or string cheese
The Plate Method
- Build a balanced meal at any holiday spread or buffet by using “the plate method.”
- Fill ½ of your plate with veggies and salad (string beans, mixed greens, carrots) – watch out for hidden sources of fat like butter, creamy sauces, and cheese
- Fill ¼ of your plate with a lean protein like skinless white meat turkey
- Fill ¼ of your plate with complex carbs like sweet potatoes and stuffing/dressing – bonus points if it’s made with whole grains!
Bring a Healthy Dish
- Whether you are a guest or a host, the best way to ensure there be at least one thing at your holiday meal you can enjoy guilt-free is to bring it yourself!
- Roasted vegetables like Brussels sprouts, carrots, butternut squash, and parsnips are seasonal and delicious
- Another great option is a salad with seasonal fruit like apples, cranberries or clementines plus toasted nuts like pecans or walnuts, lightly tossed with an olive oil-based dressing.
- For dessert, bring baked apples sprinkled with cinnamon as an alternative to pie.
- From egg nog to spiced apple cider, holiday beverages are a sneaky, often overlooked diet saboteur. Here are some tips to sip smarter:
- Drink alcohol in moderation (which is roughly two drinks for men, one for women).
- Alternate alcoholic beverages with water
- Try using flavored sparkling water as a base for lighter cocktails or mocktails
- Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, since thirst is often mistaken for hunger.
Finding ways to fit in physical activity goes a long way towards staying healthy during the holidays. Here are some ideas:
- Sign up for festive, local road race
- Organize a family walk (admiring neighborhood decorations or on a nearby trail) or touch football game (before the food coma takes over)
- Plan an active game like charades or cards that get you away from food
- Exercise not only offsets excess calories from the holiday meal, it boosts mood and lowers stress. Plus, you’ll be creating a healthy holiday tradition with your family and setting a positive example for the next generation.
Finally, Shift the Focus
Don’t let all the focus on food take away from the real meaning of the holidays- spending quality time with your friends and family! We hope these tips help you have a happy and healthy holiday season! If you are ready to take these small healthy habits to the next level, we are here to support your journey of getting back on track.Get Back on Track