Quick Tips for Enjoying the Holidays Without Sabotaging Your Health Goals

Published 4:42 pm Wednesday, November 15, 2023

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By Brooke Kanigowski RD, LDN
Our Lady of the Angels Health

During the holiday season and as we step into the New Year, maintaining a focus on nutrition and healthy eating can be challenging. While indulging in festive treats and dishes is part of the celebration, it can be important for our health to strike a balance. With some mindful strategies, you can enjoy the festivities without compromising your nutrition goals.

  1. Don’t Skip Meals:  Avoid skipping meals to “save up” for the one big celebratory meal. Skipping meals can lead to excess hunger, overeating and can also contribute to spikes in your blood sugar. Enjoy regular balanced meals throughout the day.
  2. Balance: Allow yourself to enjoy those favorite holiday dishes. Depriving yourself can lead to overindulging later.  Balance out those indulgent foods with healthier choices likes lean proteins, vegetables, and fruits. If you enjoy a sweet treat, cut back on the amount of other carbs (potatoes, rice, bread) to help balance your blood sugar.
  3. Portion Control: By using smaller plates, bowls and cups you can reduce your overall portions and avoid overeating. Split indulgent dishes with a friend or family member to reduce portion sizes.
  4. Stay hydrated: Drinking water throughout the day can help curb your appetite. Be mindful of sugary drinks. Many holiday beverages are packed with sugar and thus add extra calories. Consider alternatives like sparkling water with a splash of fruit juice or herbal teas.
  5. Stay Active: Incorporate physical activity into your day. Being active can help balance out eating more than usual during the holidays.  Go for a walk, play outdoor games or enjoy active traditions with family and friends.  Even a five-minute walk after a meal can be helpful!
  6. Be Kind to Yourself: If you slip up and overindulge, don’t be too hard on yourself. Try to avoid the “all or none” mindset. One day of overeating won’t derail your overall health goals.
  7. Set Realistic Goals: Instead of aiming for perfection, focus on making small, gradual changes. Consider setting specific, achievable goals for the new year, such as cooking one additional meal at home each week instead of eating out or by choosing to replace sugary sodas with water instead.

Remember, the key is finding a sustainable balance that allows you to enjoy the holidays while also nurturing your health and nutrition goals for the New Year. By incorporating the above strategies, you are on your way to a healthier 2024.