Much like binge-watching your favorite shows on Netflix or Hulu, binging out during the holidays is a traditional American ritual. It can be very hard to control yourself with the intoxicating aroma and sheer volume of fattening food circulating around the holidays. From office potlucks to granny’s homemade pumpkin pie, eating healthy during the holidays can seem like an almost impossible goal to achieve.
However, according to Karen Asp of RealSimple.com, there are some healthy eating strategies you can employ to help combat the overwhelming frenzy of festive holiday feasting.
- Bring Your Own Healthy Food.
Those office, social, or church potlucks can wreak havoc on healthy holiday eating. If asked to bring a dish, contribute something healthy, like a salad or veggie tray. That way you can enjoy it and cut down on the cupcakes.
- Focus On The Healthiest Foods First.
Load up on salads, broth-based soups, and other healthy items that will satisfy your hunger, so you don’t over eat.
- Stay Away From The Snacks.
Put some distance from the inevitable barrage of holiday snacks; unless, of course, they’re healthy veggies. Keeping more than an arm’s length distance will help avoid the temptation to munch and crunch your way to snack-obsessed oblivion.
- Chew Your Food.
Momma always said to chew your food thoroughly. And that’s good advice. Savoring each bite instead of gulping down food helps to keep your attention on what you’re eating so you’re not just mindlessly putting bite after bite into your mouth. Try to stop or slow down your eating when engaging in conversation around the table.
- Eat Sensibly When Shopping.
You may be burning a few calories by walking through the mall, but if you head straight to the food court to satisfy your hunger, those calories will really add up. Eat a healthy meal before you shop to help ward off hunger pangs. Avoid fast food, especially from restaurants that use a lot of red in their décor (we can think of one popular food chain in particular). Red has been shown to stimulate appetite subconsciously. If you do eat, head to a regular, sit-down restaurant and order something like a salad to fill you up.
- Keep A Food & Weight Diary.
This trick may take some discipline. But by writing down the food you consume, you’ll get a better idea of just what and how much you are eating during the holidays. Also, weigh yourself daily to give you data on how your eating habits are directly affecting your weight. Losing a pound or two, or just staying at the same weight, can be a big encouragement. Adding some pounds can also be a red flag to change your holiday eating habits.
- Eat First. Then Party.
Just as we suggested earlier about eating before going shopping, you can use this same strategy before you head off to a holiday party. Eat first to reduce the temptation to over-indulge. You should also strive to limit the quantity and variety of high-calorie foods. Instead, look for alternatives, such as salads, fruits, veggies, and lean proteins. You can eat more of these healthier foods so you feel more satisfied.
- Stash Office Goodies.
Many offices explode with a cornucopia of holiday treats. One way to cut down on them is to keep them out of sight as much as possible. Another piece of advice is to have a lot of handy snacks on hand at your workspace to reduce the temptation of grabbing that holiday cookie on the countertop.
- Size Matters.
A smaller plate looks like it has a lot more food on it than a bigger one, so you think you’re eating more food. Using smaller utensils enhance this effect. Plus, you won’t be able to pile as much food onto a smaller plate, which helps you manage the size of your portions. The same goes for drinks. Studies show that people will pour more liquid into a short, squat glass than a tall, skinny one.
- Control The Eating Environment.
A rule of thumb is that the more people who are eating, the more food will be individually consumed. One reason for this is that meals generally take longer, which encourage taking seconds, or even thirds. Dining with fewer folks, if possible, speeds things along. Other tricks you can try are to sit next to a fellow healthy eater and wait until all the food is out on the table. You’ll eat less with one pass of all the food.
By following these tips and tricks, you’ll eat healthier and smarter this holiday season. Bon Appetit!
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