10 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

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The holidays are a time for celebrating and with celebration comes indulgence. From stretching budgets to stretching waistlines, there’s no doubt that the holidays can be challenging to the healthy habits we try to keep the rest of the year. In fact, nearly 75% of annual weight gain takes place between Halloween and New Years. Learn more about avoiding weight gain and maintaining healthy eating habits this holiday season.

Healthy Eating During the Holidays

Eating just 200 extra calories a day over the holiday season can easily result in a 5 or 6-pound weight gain. That may not sound like much, but those extra pounds during the holiday season don’t fall off easily and compounded over a few years can add up. The good news is that you don’t need to deprive yourself of your favorite treats or even diet during the season to maintain a healthy weight and proper nutrition. These tips can help you enjoy the treats of the season while balancing decadence with healthy habits.

1. Eat before a holiday gathering

This may sound like you are eating additional calories but if you fill up on healthy food and protein before a holiday party you are less likely to indulge than if you arrive hungry. Satisfying pre-party snacks include apples with peanut butter or a slice of turkey and cheese.

2. Watch what you drink

Alcoholic drinks can be a large part of celebrating the season with champagne toasts, sparkling wine, and eggnog. However, some of these drinks can have a major impact on your health. A glass of eggnog is nearly 500 calories and wine, beer, and other mixed drinks are 150 to 225 calories. If you choose to drink, drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink and sip slowly.

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3. Keep your distance

While the season brings us closer with friends and family, it’s better for your health to keep a distance from the snack table. A physical distance from the food table makes it harder to mindlessly eat while you socialize.

4. Budget your calories

Just like you watch how you spend your money, watch where you spend your calories. If you know you have a big holiday party on the weekend, watch your eating habits during the week. Being intentional about your eating in the little things, and especially your snacking habits, can add up to a big difference when you step on the scale.

5. Ask a friend for help

Let your friends know that you are watching what you eat and want to keep those healthy habits you’ve been working for all year. Have them help you avoid junk food and hold each other accountable through the season.

6. Be picky

Don’t feel like you need to load your plate at holiday gatherings. Only eat and drink the things you truly enjoy.

7. Maintain a regular sleep schedule

This season brings parties that may keep you up later than your normal routine. Try to stick to a normal sleep routine, aiming for at least 7 hours of sleep per night. Getting enough sleep can help regulate your metabolism and help you make wise decisions about your food intake.

8. Continue or start an exercise routine

Despite the busyness of the season, try and keep up with your exercise. Aim for 30 minutes of cardio daily and try to incorporate meditation or yoga to manage stress. Prioritizing self-care can help keep the extra pounds off and reduce the pressure on New Years Resolutions.

9. Don’t expect perfection

Just like with everything, give yourself grace when you indulge. Don’t punish yourself or write the day off as a waste because you overindulged at one point. Take a deep breath, reset, and make better decisions moving forward.

10. Remember what matters most this holiday season

Food is a big part of holiday celebrations – but it’s not the most important part. Gathering with friends and family, laughing and spreading cheer is what the season is all about. Focusing on what really matters will take your focus off the sweets at a party and put them where they really belong – on the people around you.

How do you eat healthy during the holidays? Share your tips with us in the comments below.

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About the author

Alissa has been working in marketing and the senior living industry for over 8 years. With a B.S. in advertising from the University of Illinois, Alissa has worked all over the world as a freelance communications strategist and writer. Published in Forbes, Senior Finance Advisor, Alzheimers.net and on other leading senior care blogs, she leverages her working knowledge of the senior care industry with leading research and best practices to create engaging content benefitting seniors and their caregivers. In her free time, Alissa loves to travel, read, cook, and spend time with her family.