Stay on Track with your Goals this Season with these Simple Nutrition Strategies
Fearful of overeating holiday leftovers?
Afraid you’re going to eat one cookie and up binging on the whole tray?
Nervous you’ll lose motivation after one ‘bad night’?
With the holidays coming up, parties and family gatherings with food become more frequent, making staying on track harder than usual.
The good news, it doesn’t have to be!
You actually CAN enjoy holiday food without overdoing it or sabotaging your weight goals.
Here are 5 healthy holiday eating tips to help you stay on track with your weight loss and health this season:
Tip #1: Don’t Skip Meals to “Save Calories”
I put this one first because it may be one of the most important healthy holiday eating tips! Ever under eat during the day so you can feel less guilty about holiday feasting?
This method usually backfires because walk into the party ravenously hungry, and we end up overeating more calories from dips, chips, cookies, and drinks in one sitting than we would have throughout the day.
It also can negatively effect your resting metabolic rate (metabolism) if done consistently. If you’re curious about your own metabolism or body composition, get them tested at Dexa Fit Orlando and tell ’em Nutrition Awareness sent you for savings.
Instead of depriving yourself all day and binging on the entire holiday spread, eat your normal meal pattern and give yourself a steady stream of nutrition. Practice mindfulness, and choose healthy, leaner options. In other words, your days leading up to holiday parties are not the time to indulge with a chocolate chip pancake breakfast or leftover cupcake after lunch.
However, you don’t want to walk into the party starving. If this means having a small, balanced snack before you leave the house, do so! It will prevent you from eating everything in sight and allow you to feel satisfied with reasonable portions of goodies.
Need 1:1 accountability for your healthy eating & weight loss goals during the holiday season?
Apply to our virtual Daily Accountability Program (DAP) today!
Tip #2: Portion Control
When it comes to eating at events, here is a great template to help you portion control:
Serving #1: Try a bit of everything you want
Serving #2: Only get seconds of your 1-3 favorites
Serving #3: If you are still genuinely hungry, munch on veggies or the fruit tray
Bring healthy side dishes to potlucks to ensure you always have a go-to. Ideas include a nutritious salad, a festive veggie tray, or hummus dip with celery and carrot sticks.
Another hack? Bring a tea or sip on unsweetened coffee after eating to help keep you from overeating while everyone is continuing to socialize. Holding a warm cup also gives you something to do with your hands if you feel awkward!
Tip #3: Choose Indulgences Wisely
For you social butterflies, your holiday season schedule may be packed full with parties, potlucks, cookie exchanges, & family get togethers. Talk about temptation.
Not to mention, the stores are overflowing with limited edition & seasonal treats! I’m talking pumpkin spice everything, apple cider, eggnog, decorative cakes, pies, and cookies, and my personal favorite- peppermint ice cream.
Needless to say, there are plenty of opportunities to treat yo’ self.
While it’s ok to enjoy these sugar treats once and awhile, having a sizable portion of these treats all season long may cause unwanted weight gain.
Plan ahead and go into the season with the intention to not overindulge. Just because there are free, day old cookies in the office breakroom doesn’t mean you need to take one! Especially if you weren’t even craving the cookie in the first place or it’s not your absolute favorite
Instead, save sweet treats for the occasions when it’s REALLY worth it- your grandmas famous apple pie she only makes once a year, homemade cinnamon rolls on Christmas morning, traditional dishes for Hanukkah, and of course, Thanksgiving feasts!
Tip #4: Slow Down!
Don’t scarf down your food- eating too quickly is a sure fire way to overestimate how much you actually need. Plus, it’s not fun to feel stuffed full at parties, Friendsgiving, or work potlucks.
Instead, take a small portion of the foods you want and be mindful of your eating pace. Methods include…
- Putting your fork down between bites
- Drinking water between bites
- Focusing on enjoying the company
- Wait 15-20 minutes for a second plate to determine if you are really full
- Splitting dessert or take smaller servings if you want to try multiple things
Be careful not to fill up on apps, dips, and hors d’oeuvres before the actual meal.
These add up quickly! Instead, take a small plate and eat it slowly. Try to swap chips for veggies when eating dips as these tend to have tons of fat & calories.
Tip #5: Pace Your Booze
I don’t mean to sound like Scrooge here but the calories from alcoholic beverages can add up quickly, so proceed with caution!
Enjoy 1 sugary cocktail, holiday punch, egg nog or glass of wine, then switch to a lighter spirit. Ideas include a club soda with lime and gin or vodka or a spritzer of wine and flavored seltzer water.
Alternate drinks with water to stay hydrated.
Unless your goal is to get plastered (which we really don’t recommend- especially if your at a holiday party where your boss is present), try to cap the drinks after 1-2. Alcohol lowers our inhibitions, making overeating seem like a great idea.
I hope these healthy holiday eating tips made you feel confident about your ability to stay on track this season!
For more information on how to ensure you stay on track all year round, apply to our Daily Accountability Program for virtual nutrition coaching.
Kait Richardson is a registered dietitian nutritionist in Orlando, FL. She is a partner at a private practice, Nutrition Awareness, where she helps frustrated yo-yo dieters reach their health goals using 1:1 nutrition coaching. She is the co-host of the Nutrition Awareness Podcast.