Tips for staying healthy during the holidays

Photo Credit: photo via The Wire Cutter under the creative common license

By: Jacqueline Poznanski, Reporter

Tis’ the season to sugar cookies, gingerbread houses, fudge brownies, cookies, cakes, pies, cheesecakes, you name it. The holidays are everybody’s favorite time to eat. Delicious foods seem to surround everyone at each turn, and maintaining these cravings can be near impossible. Whether it’s sitting around the kitchen table or munching on appetizers, it can be easy to overindulge in calories. For many families, it can be hard to keep for overdoing it, but it is possible to limit oneself. Here are some tips for those who are either hosting a meal/party or attending one. 

Tips for the host

It all starts in the grocery store when shopping for holiday meals its inevitable to choose unhealthy options. Most food stores place their typical holiday foods out in the front for customers in a rush. However, instead of rushing around and grabbing the first thing you see, take your time to read the labels. Try to pick items from the outside perimeter of the store because this is where the more nutritious and organic foods are located. 

Pick whole grain over refined grains, as much as possible. Whole grains have their bran intact and have more fiber, vitamin B, magnesium, and other nutrients that are better than “white” foods. Mixing up the protein in meals can help reduce weight gain and prevent feeling sick. Meat is usually severed in very large portions, however, the proper serving size of the protein is three ounces. Therefore controlling ones portions can be beneficial and gives them more room to fill up on healthy vegetables and whole grains. 

When cooking meals or making appetizers, try to increase the use of vegetables and fruits. Cook your vegetables in ways that enhance their natural flavors instead of eliminating them with heavy sauces and glazes. However, spices like curry powder, herbs help flavor food without the additional salt. 

Tips for the guest

When attending a holiday party one should try to eat small meals throughout the day to prevent getting too hungry and overeating. Most people stress about the desserts, however, if they eat a nutritious snack before they leave it will take the edge off their appetite. Choosing a smaller plate can also eliminate the urge to take more food and the feeling of the need to finish it all. Try to fill your plate with vegetables, fruits, green salads, and lean meats. Chances are after eating more healthy foods, one will be too full to get seconds. 

After eating, take a ten-minute break so your brain will have time to tell the stomach that it is full. Often, after that amount of time, one’s hunger cravings will be satisfied. Throughout the day drink a lot of water and try to avoid soda and other sugary drinks. Eat mindfully and enjoy each bite rather than stuffing your face and trying to finish quickly. Hang out with your family and friends away from the food so one is not focused on eating rather than socializing. 

Things to consider

The holidays are a great time of the year to unite with family and enjoy good food. Be sure to minimize portions, eat more vegetables and fruits, and drink water throughout the day. These tips are very helpful but, don’t be afraid to eat sweets and miss out on the foods that one loves. Just be mindful and for those who seek a more healthy diet, follow the tips above.