For many, the delicious holiday spread is both the favorite and the most dreaded aspect of the holiday season. We all look forward to the tantalizing appetizers, savory entrees, tasty cocktails, and decadent desert. We also have come to expect the typical holiday food coma and subsequent weight gain. Many patients have asked me how make it through the holiday meals in a healthy way. While it’s not always easy to keep a healthy diet through the holiday season, there are a few simple solutions that can help everyone navigate the holiday spread in a healthy way.
Scan and Plan
Making healthy choices at the buffet table is often one of the hardest holiday tasks. One way to manage the buffet temptations is to scan the entire spread, and plan how you will fill your plate in a healthy and tasty way. Take a few of your favorite items, and leave space for fruits, veggies, and other high-fiber foods. By carefully planning your plates at the buffet table, you can better control your portions avoid that over-full feeling.
Click here for more on the scan and plan method and other healthy holiday eating tips
Being cognizant of what your drink can also make a huge impact on the success of your health efforts through the holidays. While those sweet cocktails are delicious, they are often loaded with sugar and calories. While wine and beer might have less calories than cocktails, any alcoholic beverage will decrease inhibitions and can lead to overeating. Sodas and juices also pack in a ton of calories. The best way to avoid unnecessary beverage calories is to just drink water.
Here are some tips on holiday beverages and healthy eating from the National Diabetes Education Program
Bring Something Healthy to the Party
It is tempting to bring the most delicious (and typically fattening) dishes to your holiday party. But making and brining healthy dishes is an excellent way to keep that holiday weight gain down. Try bringing a vegetable platter instead of a heavy appetizer.
Click here for some healthy holiday recipes
Remember the Goal
The most important thing you can do to stay healthy during the holidays is to remember what you are trying to accomplish. By planning your meals, avoiding heavy beverages, and making healthy dishes, you can mitigate holiday weight gain. Keep up with exercise, the resulting speedy metabolism will help your body process the holiday spread without adding excess fat. And finally, remember that you are trying to be satisfied with your holiday meal, not stuffed. You’ll feel better in the days and weeks after the holidays if you are careful to stay healthy.
Here’s another resource for a healthy holiday diet
Best wishes for a happy, healthy holiday season!