Eating Healthfully During The Holidays

The holiday season can present a seemingly endless set of challenges if you’re making an effort to maintain positive eating habits, especially if you’re just beginning to take the first steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

Healthy Eating at Holidays

For centuries, food has played a central role in bringing people together. Eating socially is enjoyable and reaffirms our connections with others. This has been especially true during times of celebration. Whatever other rituals we engage in during these times, we often also eat. And sometimes, we eat a lot. Enjoying a holiday is part of a full and well-lived life for may people, and it should be. But this doesn’t necessarily mean that holidays should derail our plans for better health.

Healthy Holiday Tips

Several simple steps can help you maintain healthy eating habits during holidays while still having a good time with your friends and family. Remember: Celebrations don’t last forever, and nobody is perfect when it comes to healthy eating. At holidays, your good habits may falter a bit–just make sure you get back on track later.

Below are a few simple healthy eating tips for keeping your resolve while not allowing your nutrition program to diminish your holiday experience:

  • Before heading out to a party or event, eat an apple. Better yet, eat two apples. The fiber and moisture content of the apples will take the edge off of your legitimate hunger and slow you down as you move toward the buffet table.
  • Drink a lot of water. This will not only help you feel full, it will also keep your hands occupied. Substitute water for every other drink of alcohol or sugary beverages.
  • Avoid discussing food and eating excessively, especially if your goals or program are new, or if you feel your resolve being tested. The reaction of your friends and family can interfere with your plans, especially if they associate eating with closeness and food refusal with distance. Nobody will notice if you eat only one slice of cake, but they will notice and react if you talk about it.
  • Keep track of what you’re eating and drinking. Don’t necessarily cut yourself off; just keep track. It’s easy to slip into mindless eating as you become immersed in conversation.
  • Understand that small lapses may happen now and then. Forgive yourself. If you despair over minor indulgences, you may lose your stride. The challenges are stronger at this time than they will be after the celebration is over.
  • When the celebration ends, recover quickly. Leave the successes or failures of the season in the past and get back on track. Habits are the foundation of good health, after all–holidays happen for a short time, but good habits continue all year long.

Resources

Better Health USA. (2010). 12 Healthy ways to survive a holiday eating frenzy. Retrieved September 7, 2010, from http://www.betterhealthusa.com/public/273.cfm

Macaire, G. (2010). Tips for healthy holiday eating. Retrieved September 7, 2010, from http://www.cpmc.org/about/e-health/11-05%20healthy-holidays.html

Net Wellness.org. (2005). Tips for healthy eating during the holiday season. Retrieved September 7, 2010, from http://www.netwellness.org/healthtopics/diet/nutribyte2003dec.cfm