Healthy Strategies for Holiday Weight Management

by North Memorial

You can enjoy the flavors of the holidays without sacrificing a healthy diet or feeling guilty about what you eat. Registered Dietitian Karen Palmer offers some great tips on portion control and food choices to help you enjoy all of your forthcoming holiday gatherings.

  • Take each day/function one at a time and strive to tackle each one individually instead of the total holiday season.
  • Avoid empty-stomach syndrome. Never go to a holiday party on an empty stomach.
  • One trip to the buffet. Choose a small plate also.
  • Pile on the veggies.
  • Prepare whatever foods you can ahead of time, so you won’t feel so pressured.
  • Eat slowly so you can taste and enjoy whatever you eat
  • Set your fork down and pause between bites.  It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to signal a feeling of fullness.
  • Keep moving.  Schedule your exercise along with your other commitments.  Look for ways to be active during the day, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Adjust favorite traditional recipes.
  • Keep things in perspective.  Try to maintain the healthy habits you practice all year, but don’t get down on yourself if you slip up.  Try to get back on your meal plan at your next meal/snack though. 
  • Focus on having fun and enjoying other’s company vs. the food so much.
  • Bring healthy foods to pot lucks, parties, etc.  For example, fresh veggie tray with low-fat dill dip.
  • Instead of eating when you are stressed, choose an alternative enjoyable activity such as a hot bath or shower, watch TV, listen to music, read a book, go for a walk, etc.
  • Give problem foods to friends/family as take-home leftovers.
  • Strive to be satisfied after eating vs. stuffed.  How do you want to feel 20 minutes after eating?
  • Replace this myth:  “The hostess will feel rejected if I reject some of her food”. Reply, “No, thank you.  I’m really full” but you can fulfill possibly her need to offer you something by agreeing to a cup of coffee vs. a rich dessert.  You can always bring some dessert home for later consumption.
  • Finally be REALISTIC!  What must you have and what can you live without? Bargain with yourself, have a glass of wine but no dessert, or dessert but no wine. Remember, holiday eating, much like life, is a series of compromises.

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Peg Christenson

Great information! Being mindful of what you are eating and listening to your body. Love the last tip stating that holiday eating, much like life, is a series of compromises. So true!

Peg Christenson, DTR

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