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Healthy Tips for the Holidays from a Registered Dietitian

Wondering how to stay healthy and stick to your diet this holiday season? Customs this time of year often revolve around the food on the table making the holidays the dieter’s arch nemesis. However, the holidays are meant to be enjoyed and celebrated not spent stressing over every morsel of food.

Follow these tips for a happy and healthy holiday season!

Healthy Tips for the Holidays breakfast

EAT A LIGHT AND HEALTHY BREAKFAST

On a big holiday like Thanksgiving or Christmas, you may be tempted to skip breakfast and “save room” for the main event. Despite how good of an idea this may sound, skipping breakfast often causes you to eat even more later on. Choosing a light breakfast, like a piece of fruit and oatmeal, will keep you from starving and eating everything in sight by dinner time.

DON’T BE A GRAZER

If you are at a holiday party with tempting treats you may be discouraged from making a plate of food and graze on a bite here and there. However, grazing on foods every time you walk past them often adds up to more than if you just made that plate. Choose a small-sized plate and fill it with the foods you keep reaching for!

healthy tips for the holidays half plate vegetables

MAKE HALF YOUR PLATE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES

Filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables is an easy way to limit your portions without feeling deprived or hungry. Fill the other half with a small amount of anything you want! If you don’t know if there will be fruits and vegetables then offer to prepare a veggie side dish you enjoy or bring a salad with homemade dressing.

healthy tips for the holidays stick to favorites2

STICK TO YOUR FAVORITES

Focus on filling your plate with the foods you really enjoy and pass on things you can live without.  We all have our favorite foods we look forward to around the holidays. For me, they are my mother’s sweet potato soufflé and pumpkin pie she makes every major holiday. At family gatherings, I’ll skip on other starchy dishes  and desserts in favor of these that do not show up on the table as often.

healthy tips for the holidays save some for leftovers

SAVE SOME FOR LEFTOVERS

I don’t know why but most of us feel we need to eat enough food to feed a football team on holidays. We stuff our faces like we don’t know if we will ever eat again. Then repeat the next day and the next until the food is gone. This year, if you know you are going home with a doggy bag save some of those starchy, calorie-dense items for another meal. Enjoy the pie today and save the cookies for tomorrow!

CELEBRATE TIME WITH FAMILY AND FRIENDS

Food is much more than calories and carbohydrates. It’s ingrained in our culture and often an expression of love. One of my favorite holiday traditions is baking Christmas cookies with my family. Take the time to enjoy the cooking process and appreciate the amazing scents and flavors of the food. Enjoy sweets and treats in moderation listening to your appetite to keep from over indulging. Don’t forget to be thankful for the people in your life and reveal in this time with loved ones!

Share your healthy tips for the holidays in the comments!

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