Even though the holiday season is upon us, it’s important to make sure that healthy eating doesn’t also go on vacation as well!
Here’s a few quick tips to make sure that your holiday season is a happy one for your waistline as well.
First of all, while attending all the holiday parties this year, make sure that you don’t go on an empty stomach! Healthy meals with plenty of greens and less red meat will keep you feeling full and help you resist all those decadent deserts that are the hallmark of any party. While party food can be great in moderation, trying to make a meal out of it can leave you feeling less than jolly, often this food is low in nutrients and high in fats and calories; exactly the sort of things a healthy diet is not!
Another sneaky source of extra calories can be that innocent glass of eggnog so readily available from that nearby punchbowl: One cup of eggnog provides around 350 calories, and about half of them come from fat. If available, a light version of the drink is a better choice. Alternately, consider sipping on a glass of red wine instead – one glass of red wine has less than 100 calories, and even raises your HDL cholesterol levels (the good cholesterol) and can help protect against atherosclerosis. If you do choose to drink alcohol, please drink responsibly.
While we’re on the topic, eggnog isn’t the only drink high in calories; even healthy drinks like cranberry juice can be too much of a good thing. A glass of cranberry juice can have about 150 calories; instead, consider drinking a glass of water, and have just a sip of the juice. You will be just as hydrated, but you’ll have saved yourself quite a bit of extra calories.
Now that we’ve covered drinks, let’s get to the meat and potatoes of the holidays; the meals! It’s easy to enjoy the holiday dinners in a healthy way. Here’s a few tips: Using a smaller plate is a good idea, as it can help stop you from taking enough food to completely stuff yourself, as well as protecting you from friends or relatives who like to pile things onto your plate! If the dinner is set up as a buffet, it’s a good idea to bring the food back to your seat rather than just having little bites at the buffet table itself. This will help you keep track of how much food you’re getting, so you won’t absentmindedly eat more than you intended. Make sure you eat slowly and savour your meal; giving your body time to realize it’s full will stop you from going for those seconds you don’t really need.
With that in mind, it’s important to remember that even if you’re eating the healthiest items possible, it’s still possible to overdo it. Too many calories from even the best possible foods is still too many calories. It’s important to make healthy choices, but it’s equally important to avoid ‘hypernutrition’ – eating too much of the good stuff. Remember, you don’t have to finish everything on your plate!
As always, choosing good foods is part of a healthy lifestyle, but so is physical activity. Even taking a walk in this winter wonderland helps keep weight off, and will make you feel better in the long run. Of course, these tips aren’t only for the holidays; taking good care of yourself and eating right is something we should try to do every single day of the year!
By: Stephen Tytus, in collaboration with Richard Tytus