November 6, 2015

The holidays are just around the corner, which mean traditions, celebrations and, for many of us, the urge to overindulge in tasty treats in the office and at holiday dinners with our families.

Just because the holidays often go hand-in-hand with goodies of all kind, doesn’t mean that you have to lose track of your healthy eating habits, which can be hard because the holidays aren’t just a one-day event.

Holiday foods and celebrations are all around us, and they’re not just at home; they pop up all around our environments, which constantly presents a challenge. Avoiding overeating and holiday weight gain while trying to maintain a healthy diet can be difficult.

When it comes to these next few months, it’s important to not get distracted by things in our environment that influence us to eat. So much of what we do is triggered by what we see. In social situations, it’s common to be influenced when someone else is eating, or by walking in to the break room at work and noticing someone brought in a treat. As a society, we tend to reach for these snacks even when we’re not hungry.

It’s OK to eat special foods over the holidays, but it’s important to know how maintain a healthy lifestyle at the same time. These holiday eating tips will help you enjoy the holiday season while still being healthy:

  • Eat when you know you’re hungry: listen to your body’s signals that it’s time to eat, like emptiness in your stomach, pains, growling, queasiness, shaking or irritability.
  •  Don’t skip a meal in anticipation of a holiday gathering: eat normally up to that point. Trying to save your calories will only cause you to over eat.
  • Be a food snob: don’t eat something because it’s there. If it doesn’t look good, don’t eat it and choose something else.
  • Think of your appetite as an expense account: how much do you want to spend on the entrée or appetizer? If you want dessert, save room for it so you don’t make yourself feel sick.
  • Stay away from the buffet table: we tend to be food suggestible, so try and socialize away from the food. Get what you want and steer away from the table.
  • Choose the food that you really want and know that you can have other items at a different time.
  • Think about your alcohol intake: sometimes we don’t think about how many calories are in alcohol, but they can add up. Be aware of your calorie intake in your drinks.
  • Know when to say ‘no:’ as a society, people tend to be food pushy and we obligatory eat. It’s OK to not eat everything you paid for, or if it was free, someone gave it to you or it’s on your plate.
  • Think about the garbage: a lot of people have a hard time wasting food, but once your body’s food needs are met, it stores extra food as fat.
  • Don’t get caught up in the all or nothing: even if you overindulge, don’t think that you can’t get back on track of your healthy eating. Take a step back and say ‘what happened and what can I do differently?
  • Most importantly, remember that the holidays are for enjoying the company, traditions and atmosphere around you. The holidays are one time of year, and it’s what we do every day that leads to habits and long-term health