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10 Healthy Eating Tips For the Holidays

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10 Healthy Eating Tips For the Holidays- table covered with variety of different Christmas cookies

The holiday season is in full swing and there are plenty of holiday foods and beverages pretty much anywhere you go now. But just because there are lots of cookies, candy, rich meals, and sugary holiday beverages doesn’t mean that you must completely fall off the healthy eating wagon this holiday season. To help, we’ve put together 10 healthy eating tips for the holidays.

Don’t go to a party starving

Have you ever skipped a meal because you knew that you had a big meal later in the day, or a party with lots of great food to eat? The first of our healthy eating tips is to make sure you aren’t starving when you go to that holiday party. It can be tempting to skip a meal to make room to eat more later. But it’s not the best idea. You may think that skipping lunch can help save calories so you can overindulge later. But most times you end up eating far more calories in the process.

And skipping a meal can impact your blood sugar levels, making you more irritable, anxious, or depressed. Instead of skipping a meal, have a lighter meal or healthy snack instead. This will help keep your blood sugar more consistent. And it will prevent you from overeating later.

Don’t shop while hungry

This tip is one that is valid all year long not just at holiday time. If you shop while hungry it is much easier to grab high-calorie, highly processed foods instead of healthier options. But shopping while hungry doesn’t just have you reaching for more unhealthy food. A recent study also showed that people tended to spend more on non-food items when shopping while hungry. So, hunger could lead to binge shopping as well.

Eat slowly

Americans are fast eaters. The problem with eating too quickly is that it takes at least 20 minutes for the body to signal you that it’s starting to get full. Eating too quickly bypasses this natural body signal and can cause you to eat far more calories than you would if you ate slowly. Eating too quickly can also cause digestive issues. Eating slowly and thoroughly chewing food releases important digestive enzymes needed to help break down food. Without those enzymes, the body cannot break down food effectively.

So slow down and chew your food fully. It will help you consume fewer calories and give your digestive system the enzymes it needs to function properly.

Don’t overload at the buffet

The holiday season often includes many wonderful holiday buffets or potlucks. So many tasty dishes are available. But it is easy to overload your plate and overeat at one of these events. When possible, choose a small plate to load food onto. Be sure to include vegetables. Select only the foods that you want to eat and take smaller portions. Be sure to eat slowly and wait at least 10-15 minutes before going back for more, to be sure if you are still hungry.

Limit sugary holiday beverages

It is easy to find plenty of festive holiday drinks. But many holiday beverages are loaded with added sugar that can add extra calories and unwanted sugar. That glass of eggnog could add an additional 500 calories. A holiday margarita can be an additional 450 calories. The calories in those sweet holiday drinks can add up quickly. If you really must indulge in a high-calorie beverage, then limit it to one. Then switch to seltzer, unsweetened tea, or water.

Don’t stand by food tables to socialize

At parties, many people gravitate towards the food tables. And it is not uncommon for people to spend a good deal of time socializing by the food tables. But this can cause you to fill your plate more often. Or you may find yourself nibbling mindlessly, ultimately eating a lot more food than you intended. The easy solution is to find somewhere away from the food tables to stand and socialize.

Make time for daily exercise

Of course, we recommend getting daily exercise all year long. But it is even more important to make sure you are exercising regularly during the holiday season. This helps to reduce stress during the busy holiday season. And stress can cause you to reach for more high-calorie junk foods. So, make it a point to get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.

Choose the foods you like the best

If you are at a holiday event with lots of food, you surely don’t need to sample everything on the food table. Choose the foods you really love and skip those that aren’t at the top of your list. Choosing a few of those holiday treats will help you not feel deprived. And it will allow you to enjoy home holiday goodies without going overboard.

Get plenty of sleep

What does sleep have to do with healthy eating? A lot! The holiday season tends to be a busy time of the year. And it’s easy to stay up late trying to get things done and choose to skip a few hours of sleep. But getting less than 7-9 hours of sleep can lead to sleep deprivation. One problem with being sleep-deprived is that it can increase cravings for sugar and other junk food. So, getting proper sleep can help you reduce sugar cravings.

Offer to bring a dish

Here is the last of our healthy eating tips. If you want to have at least one healthy option at the Holiday party, offer to bring a dish to share. This is a great idea for those who have dietary concerns and who may have a difficult time finding food that they can eat at a party. But it gives you at least one option that you know you can eat.

There is plenty you can do to be more intentional about your eating this holiday season. Of course, wherever you are eating, be sure to eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables when possible.

It is possible that you may find yourself overindulging for a meal or two. But instead of beating yourself up or stressing yourself out over it, let it go and get yourself back on track at the next meal. Try these healthy eating tips so that you can have a healthier holiday. Your body deserves it!

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