By: Olivia Rees, QMG Registered Dietitian
As we enter into the holiday season, one thing I am often asked about as a registered dietitian is how to keep healthy eating habits during the holidays. While holidays are often a time for celebration and catching up with family members, it can also be a challenging time to stay consistent with meeting your nutrition and physical activity goals. However, there are many things we can do to prepare to help you stay healthy during the celebrations. Here are my top five tips to consider during the holiday season:
Do not skip meals in anticipation of a big meal. It is important to avoid the temptation of skipping meals to “save calories.” Unfortunately, avoiding calorie intake (especially in the mornings) can lead to overeating throughout the day. Try eating a yogurt with granola or drinking a fruit smoothie to start your day off right.
Be careful with beverages. Sugar-sweetened beverages (such as lemonade, sweet tea, regular soda, and fruit juices) can average around 100 – 200 calories per cup! This can add up quickly. Try sipping on unsweetened tea, diet soda, or fruit-infused water instead.
Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Often during the holiday season, we have many of our favorite family foods available. This can lead to overeating. Remember to savor your favorites!
Bring your own dish. I’m often told there are no “healthy options” available at their holiday celebrations. If this is the case, bring your own vegetable tray or salad option. This way, others can enjoy these nutritious foods as well.
Remember to plan time for exercise. Exercise can not only help relieve holiday stress, but can help you stay on track with your physical activity goals. Research shows that walking for at least 10-minute sessions, twice daily, can help with weight maintenance during the holidays.
No matter what you choose to focus on, remember that holidays are for celebrating! While there are many things we can do to help improve our nutrition and exercise options, we can also indulge during this special season. Holidays are about making memories, so make sure you enjoy your holiday season with friends and family. Happy Holidays!