Thanksgiving kicks off the holidays and “treat season.” Halloween could also be considered the beginning of a free-for-all in terms of food, but Thanksgiving is where food becomes part of many holiday traditions. Then, New Year’s Day arrives and you make dieting and weight loss resolutions, as an attempt to undo the overindulgence of the holiday seasons. But what if you didn’t have to worry about that at all, and instead focused on where you can stay on track during the holidays? Below are some tips!
· Don’t starve yourself the day before Thanksgiving or the morning to “save room” for the large meal you will enjoy with family and friends. By allowing yourself to get that hungry, you’re setting yourself up for failure as it will be difficult for you to keep what you eat in moderation.
· Eat in moderation. One pitfall of dieting is that it can make people crave more food when they begin restricting what they feel they can or cannot eat. By being mindful of your portion sizes, eating slowly, and savoring the delicious meal, you can fill up in a way that prevents overindulgence.
· For appetizers, think fresh. Try to opt for veggie or fruit plates and snack on them while you wait for the meal to finish cooking. Not only will this help you eat fewer things that aren’t as healthy, but can give you a good boost of nutrition too.
· Lighten recipes wherever possible. This includes making substitutions such as using Greek yogurt or whole milk for mashed potatoes, soups, or other “creamed” recipes, reducing sugars by 10-25% in baking recipes, using whole wheat flour for rolls or other bread items, using a variety of complementary spices can also reduce the need for too much salt, and boost nutrition where you can, such as adding dried fruit, chopped nuts or other more nutritionally dense items in recipes.
· Be mindful of your meal. Savor your food and don’t wolf it down. Enjoy the food of the season and the time spent with loved ones—there’s no need to rush!
· Go outside and take a walk or take your kids to the park or some other physical activity between dinner and dessert if the weather permits.
· Stay hydrated. Drinking enough water before, during, and after a big meal can be an excellent way to consume fewer calories, as it can increase feelings of fullness and satiety, helping prevent overindulgence. It is especially beneficial for middle-aged and older adults.
For more tips on how you can eat smart over this holiday season, click here!