Celebrate the Healthy Way!

11/15/2019 | Lauren Baker, RDN LD

Healthy Eating for the Holidays

The holidays are a time for family, fun, and food! Check out these four strategies for healthy eating over the holidays to get a fresh start for the new year. 

Eat breakfast

Mealtimes vary during the holidays. Dinner at 3:00 pm? Sure! Cheese tray at 8:30 pm? Absolutely! Even with an odd meal schedule, and perhaps the temptation to “save up” for a splurge on holiday goodies, eating breakfast can help to moderate hunger levels throughout the day and allow you to savor instead of shovel. Replenish each morning this holiday season with a balanced breakfast. We recommend eating a source of protein and a complex carbohydrate for a satisfying start to the day. Think scrambled eggs and a whole grain English muffin or a tablespoon of peanut butter swirled into oats.

Recognize the difference between physical hunger and hunger for “experience”

There are many reasons why we choose to eat. These can include physical hunger, boredom or uneasiness, highly palatable foods, and even pressure from others. Throughout the holidays, there may be a greater desire to eat for the “experience”. Aunt Jane’s special fudge only comes around once a year, you know. These heirloom holiday foods can and should be enjoyed as part of an overall balanced eating pattern. The amount we eat, however, can be determined more mindfully when we take the time to mentally reflect on the following question: Am I physically hungry or am I hungry for the experience of this food? Taking time to tune into your body’s hunger and satiety cues can help you to be truly satisfied with one serving of a favorite holiday food.

Sit down to celebrate

With all the holiday rush, you deserve to sit down for your meals. It’s a bonus because when we sit down to eat our meals instead of eating on the go, we are more likely to eat mindfully and enjoy our food. Make it a priority to sit down for meals at the table, without electronics, and take the time to feel yourself move from hungry to satisfied.

Value the vegetables.

Veggies may not seem like a treat to our taste buds, but they are certainly a treat for our health. A balanced plate contains at least one serving of vegetables. Treat your body this holiday season by nourishing it with the antioxidants, fiber, and micronutrients that vegetables provide. Make festive vegetable skewers to brighten up any holiday spread or try roasting a seasonal staple like winter squash, brussels sprouts, or parsnips. 

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