9 Holiday Healthy Eating Tips To Enjoy – But Not Overstuff – Yourself

9 Holiday Healthy Eating Tips To Enjoy – But Not Overstuff – Yourself
November 17, 2011 Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.

In honor of thanksgiving, here are 9 holiday healthy eating tips that – if you follow them – will keep you from winding up lying on the floor rubbing your swollen belly.

You definitely want to enjoy your holiday meal, but you can do that without being incapacitated afterwards, and without straying too far from a healthy eating plan.

I have an older brother, and of course I always wanted to be allowed have all of the privileges he had. So for some crazy reason, that meant that I wanted to be able to eat as much as he did. This didn’t often end well for me, and particularly at thanksgiving…

I’ve been trying to reprogram my brain to tell me that I shouldn’t measure my enjoyment of food by the quantity I eat. It should be about the quality and taste. I’m getting there. Slowly but surely.

Whatever your reasons, most of us tend to overeat at thanksgiving. With so much delicious food on the table, it can be really hard not to! The following holiday healthy eating tips should help you indulge without going overboard – at least not too far.

Don’t Go In Hungry

Skipping meals before the big dinner will only make you eat more and eat faster than you normally would. Have a good breakfast and lunch with lots of fresh vegetables (basically your regular healthy balanced diet) to make you less tempted to overindulge on dinner.

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Start Small

If there are a lot of different options on the table, take a small portion of the ones you want. They add up to a crowded plate really quickly, but if you keep it small you can always take another spoonful of your favorites. If you have the option of a smaller plate, it can really help you keep the spoonfuls small.

Start With Veggies

Start your plate off with vegetables – salad, green beans and carrots. Don’t make yourself a martyr – take the other heavier foods you want, too. But putting the veggies there first fills up your plate (and your stomach) with lighter foods.

Choose Wisely

When you’re looking at the choices on the table, pick the ones that you really enjoy or are a special holiday dish. There’s no point eating a big pile of mashed potatoes that you can make any old night when what you really want is the lentil loaf with cranberry chutney.

Keep The Fat In Check

Be conscious of the dishes that are heavy in fat – like gravy, mashed potatoes, and anything with dairy or cheese. Even if they’re healthy plant fats, they’ll stick with you for hours after you finish eating.

If you’re preparing the meal, you can easily cut down on the fat content. Thicken a mushroom gravy with arrowroot powder, mash your potatoes with veggie broth, spread hummus and/or cranberry sauce on your biscuits – a little bit of thought ahead of time goes a long way.

Don’t Drink Empty Calories

Having too much juice, soda, wine or beer can add lots of calories to your evening without you even realizing. It’s so easy to fall off healthy diet plans by drinking too many calories. Stick with water – you can add a splash of juice, or infuse it with fresh fruit, vegetables or herbs for flavor.

Take Your Time

Don’t plow through your plate. Take the time to savor each delicious thing on your plate, chew it well, and chat with the wonderful people at your table. A healthy eating plan doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your meal!

Remember – There Are Leftovers!

Don’t eat like this is your last meal, or your last chance ever to have the foods on the table. If it’s your meal, you know you’ll have leftovers. If you’re at another person’s house, maybe you’ll get to take some leftovers – and if not, you can always make a dish you really enjoyed for yourself another night.

Don’t Feel Guilty

If some (or all) of these tips get thrown out the window, try not to dwell on it too much. Don’t feel guilty – just be thankful that you had such a wonderful meal and time with friends and family.

You can get back on track with your healthy eating habits tomorrow, and you’ll be even more motivated to stick with it. Just keep trying at each special meal to move closer to a healthy relationship with food.

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