By Kayleigh King, Clinical Dietitian, Baptist Health Medical Center-Little Rock
The holiday season is a time to celebrate and enjoy quality time with family and friends, and the last thing you want to be worried about is dieting. It is possible to eat healthy during the holidays, and indulging a little won’t hurt! Just remember these tips to help you through the holiday season:
Prepare Yourself Before the Party –– Don’t Skip Meals
One of the biggest mistakes you can make before heading to a party is to skip a meal or arrive hungry. You can set yourself up to make better choices by simply preparing a light, healthy snack before the party. Try fresh fruit, yogurt, or peanut butter with crackers to help you prevent arriving to the party with an empty stomach.
Bring a Healthy Holiday Food
When hosting the party, it is much easier to control the ingredients used in the popular holiday dishes. However, as a guest it can be difficult to decide which dish would be the healthier option without knowing all of the ingredients. If asked by the host to bring food, you can prepare a healthy version of your favorite holiday dish. Consider replacing ingredients in your family recipes with healthier options or bring a dish like roasted green beans, fruit salad, or garden salad.
Check All the Options Before Making a Plate
In order to be fully prepared, survey all the options on the food buffet prior to making your plate. Being prepared will allow you to choose more of the healthy options. Try to fill your plate with many different colored food items, and also try to choose foods from all different food groups. This will provide variety –– in taste and in nutrients. Try to avoid returning to the buffet for double portions.
Be Mindful During the Party
Remember the reason for the celebration. You should be focused on enjoying the time with your family and friends. During mealtime, try to focus on your meal to make sure you do not overeat. If you plan to eat dessert, consider this during the meal and choose lighter foods that will not make you feel too full. Choose items that are your favorites in smaller portions, and eat slowly to savor every bite. Limit or avoid drinking beverages that are high in sugar and calories.
Don’t Change Your Exercise Routine
This time of the year should be enjoyable. However, you shouldn’t forget to keep physically active. Physical activity reduces stress and gives us more energy. Try fitting in a workout before the party and stick to your normal exercise routine if possible.