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  • Writer's pictureArwen Rasmussen

Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays – Your Recipe for Staying on Track No Matter What’s Cooking

Submitted by Bernie Allen, ADRC Nutrition Program Coordinator

`Tis the season for family, festivity, and food – lots of food. Temptations are everywhere, and parties and travel disrupt daily routines. How do you stick to a meal plan when everyone around you seems to be splurging? Here are some tips that can help:

1. Holiday Proof Your Plan

You may not be able to control what food you’re served, and you’re going to see other people eating tempting treats. Meet the challenge armed with a plan:

  • Invited to a party? Offer to bring a healthy dish along.

  • If you have a sweet treat, cut back on other carbohydrates (such as potatoes and bread) during the meal.

  • Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast. You will be really hungry and more likely to overeat.

  • If you slip up, get right back to healthy eating with your next meal.

2. Outsmart the Buffet

When you face a spread of delicious holiday food, make healthy choices easier:

  • Have a small plate of the foods you like best and then move away from the buffet table.

  • Load up on the vegetables.

  • Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full.

  • Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food.

3. Fit in Favorites

No food is on the naughty list. Choose the dishes you really love and can’t get any other time of year. Slow down and savor a small serving.

4. Keep Moving

You’ve got a lot on your plate this year, but don’t let physical activity get crowded out. Being active is your secret holiday weapon. It can help make up for the eating more than usual, and it can help reduce stress. Get moving with friends and family by taking a walk after a holiday meal.

5. Get Plenty of Rest

Going out more and staying out later often means cutting back on sleep. When you’re sleep deprived you’ll tend to eat more high-fat, high-sugar food. Aim for at least 8 hours of sleep per night to guard against mindless eating.

6. Pay Attention to What Really Matters

Although food is an integral part of the holidays, put the focus on family and friends, laughter and cheer. If balance and moderation are your usual guides, it’s okay to indulge and overeat once in a while.

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