It can be hard to stay on track with your diet over the holidays, particularly when there are so many parties and gatherings filled with tasty (and tempting) treats!
Use these tips to help you celebrate the holidays the healthy way. Remember, if you have any questions or want additional support throughout this festive season, reach out to your Copeman Dietitian!
1. Focus on weight management not weight loss
Set a goal to maintain your weight over the holidays. This is more realistic and less overwhelming than having a goal to lose weight. It will still take some effort, but it is much more achievable.
2. Plan time for exercise
Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevents weight gain. Take advantage of all the fun winter activities! Go skating, snow shoeing, build a snow man, take a neighbourhood walk to see the lights, go sledding with the kids or even treat yourself to an exercise class you enjoy. Some holiday Zumba, perhaps?
3. Do not skip meals
Skipping breakfast or lunch before a big holiday dinner may actually cause you to overeat. Be mindful of your choices earlier in the day, sticking to veggies, fruit and lean proteins.
4. Offer to bring a healthy dish
If you know in advance that you will not find any healthy choices at your holiday gathering, offer to bring something along, such as a salad, a veggie tray, roasted chicken, fish or a fruit platter.
5. Go slow
It’s easy to overeat if you eat quickly. Try to pace yourself and take little pauses during your meal so that you can check in with your body and see how hungry/full you truly are. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Chew thoroughly (15-30 times per bite!) and really savor your food.
6. Watch your portions
If you have the option, choose a smaller plate and stick to smaller portions (e.g. 1 chicken wing instead of 10). This will allow you to enjoy all the different foods offered, while still controlling your calorie intake.
7. When it comes to liquor…
Select lite wines and beers, rather than mixed drinks. Alcohol is high in calories. Set a limit for yourself before an event to help you stay on track with your health goals. Alternate with non-alcoholic drinks (e.g. water/sparkling water) in between each glass.
8. Avoid mindless nibbling
Stand away from buffet tables and food trays to avoid the urge to nibble constantly. Or, stand next to the veggie tray and nibble away!
9. Make small talk
Talk more, eat less. Make the holiday season about enjoying company, rather than all about the food. Sit next to a family member or friend that you haven’t seen in a long time and share in a wonderful conversation – you’ll forget all about the tray of holiday cookies in the kitchen!
10. Remember the rainbow
Fill at least half your plate with a rainbow of colours (fruits and veggies). Delicious options, such as Brussels sprouts and squash, are still in season – so eat up!
11. It’s okay to say “no, thank you”
Learn to say “no” politely when your host or others encourage you to continue eating. Say: “no thank you. I have had enough. Everything was delicious.” This works even with someone who will not take “no” for an answer.
12. Give yourself some credit
Social events do not mean that you have to totally abandon proper eating habits and your prescribed diet or give up on your waistline. Even if you are not completely successful at eating right, compliment yourself for trying and then focus on some areas of improvement for next time!
This post was adapted from Holiday Eating the Healthy Way by Andrea Termotto, RD, CDN