Maintain, Don’t Gain! Healthful Holiday Eating Tips

Written by: Becky McGraw, Health Fitness Specialist

The holidays are almost upon us which means many will be enjoying time with family, friends and…food! Staying on track during the end of the year can be a challenge. Although estimated holiday weight gain is actually close to only one pound, most people still have trouble losing that unwanted guest after the holiday season.

Follow these tips to maintain, not gain during the holiday season:

1. Don’t skip meals.

You may consider skipping breakfast or lunch on the day of the feast. Eat close to your usual mealtimes to help prevent overeating at the event. Be sure to prepare a healthy breakfast and have a wholesome snack prior to the event.

2. Invited to a pot luck?

Bring a healthy dish you enjoy to share with others. Have fun and get creative with food trays and displays. Fruit skewers and veggie arrangements can make healthy foods feel more festive. If most of the other options are unhealthy, at least you know one dish will be available for you to eat.

Finger food. Stick vegetable salad in a shot glass
3. Stake your spot away from the food table. 

Hanging out in the kitchen or near the buffet table may cause you to mindlessly grab a bite to eat frequently. Standing further away from the food table will make it harder for you to eat more than you intend.

4. Use a small plate. 

Most holiday parties are buffet-style events. By using a smaller plate, you have a better chance to take less and be able to control portion sizes more easily.

5. Eat vegetables and salad first.

Eat vegetables and salad first. Vegetables tend to be high in nutrients and fiber which can help you feel full and you may end up eating fewer calories overall.

People At A Banquet Taking Different Food. Colleagues Buffet Par
6. Watch your liquid intake. 

Festive holiday drinks tend to flow freely at holiday get-togethers. Alternate alcohol and water to stay hydrated and control calorie intake.

7. Keep moving!

Check to see if your local area has a Thanksgiving Day 5K run or walk or any other holiday-themed physical activities. Or after dinner, catch up with friends and family by taking a brisk walk before dessert. If holiday shopping is on the agenda, park farther out from store entrances and keep a quick pace as you trek from store to store.

couple-running-in-cold-weather
8. Use moderation. 

Yes, can indulge in a dessert. Choose a small serving dessert you really love and eat slowly and savor a small serving.

Becky McGraw is a Health Fitness Specialist at Corporate Fitness Works. She has a BS in Kinesiology, is a NSCA Certified Personal Trainer and a Level 1 RRCA and USATF certified running coach. Becky enjoys ultramarathon runs, especially on the trails.

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