We all want to enjoy our holidays, but we also don’t want to sabotage healthy habits or start a downward spiral of unhealthy habits. Here are some tips from our Magruder Hospital Nutrition Department on how to navigate the holidays.
Before your gathering:
- Don’t skip meals. Eat a small and healthy meal before you go.
- If you are hosting the gathering: make sure the menu has healthy options.
- Avoid sampling the foods while cooking- these calories will add up and can affect your blood sugar.
- Make a PLAN and STICK to it.
During the gathering:
- Look over food options first-think about what you are going to put on your plate.
- Don’t drink your calories-stick to calorie free drinks such as water, un-sweet tea and diet sodas.
- Select non-starchy veggies that are served raw, steamed or grilled. Examples: broccoli, cauliflower and carrots.
- Avoid a large amount of starchy foods on your plate. Take just a few spoonfuls or bites of the items you want.
- Choose the foods that you never get a chance to eat, such as “Grandma’s homemade stuffing” or “Uncle Bill’s pumpkin pie”.
- Choose lean meat options.
- Avoid foods in heavy sauces, creams, butters or crusts.
- If you plan to have a dessert, cut back on starchy carbohydrates during the meal.
- Eat slowly-it can take 20 minutes for your brain to recognize you are full.
- Avoid “unconscious eating”- don’t be distracted while eating.
- Say NO to a second plate.
After the gathering:
- After your meal, go for a walk and remember to stay active. It can help manage your blood sugar levels and reduce stress levels. We all know how the holidays can increase stress levels!
And remember to give yourself a little grace. If you do end up overindulging, don’t beat yourself up. You did NOT fail! Forget the mistake, learn the lesson, and make a plan to get back on track.