12 Healthy Eating Tips For The Holidays

People having a dinner together.

The holiday season is just around the corner. It’s a time to celebrate as you gather with family and friends for loving company and gift-giving. Of course, the holidays would not be complete without the feast that you usually prepare for your loved ones as you partake of the season’s blessings.

Sadly, all that delicious feasting is one of the reasons why a lot of us gain weight from Christmas to New Year. And we have to remember that there are health consequences for all that added weight. These include heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and more. If you are already dealing with your weight issues, adding pounds will not make your holiday any better.
So how do you enjoy a holiday feast with family and friends and not have to worry about the extra weight that usually comes with holiday bingeing?

Well, in the spirit of the song “12 Days of Christmas”, here are 12 tips on healthy eating during the holiday season.

1. Be Intentional About Your Eating And Cooking

Eating healthy over the holidays is a choice. You can decide as to what food to prepare and serve at home for you, your family, and your friends. You can also choose the food to eat at parties. And even if the menu is healthier than usual, limit yourself to eating smaller portions.

2. Do Not Starve Yourself Just Before Your Holiday Feast Starts Or Before Going To A Party

People usually forego a meal prior to the party to try and eat more during holiday feasting. This is a big no-no as you will end up overeating.
To prevent this, eat a light, healthy snack before the festivities start. This way, you do not feel as hungry and you will not eat more than you should.

3. Go For That Smaller Plate

One way to make sure that you do not consume more than your body really needs is by using only a smaller plate as you help yourself to the holiday dishes. A smaller plate gives you less space, so you end up only getting smaller portions of food. And getting smaller portions will help you consume less amount of food while not depriving you of the chance to enjoy the dishes served.

4. Load Up On Vegetables And Fruits

If there is a food group that you can take more of, it’s vegetables and fruits, especially if you find yourself going for seconds or thirds. Choose whole fruits such as apples, grapes, oranges, pear, or strawberries. For vegetables, load up on dark green, red, and orange vegetables. You can also include beans, peas, and lentils, as well as cucumber, green bell peppers, cauliflower, or zucchini. All of these will help you feel full because of their rich fiber contents.

5. Pair Your Meal With A Healthy Drink

Drinking water before a meal will help fill up your tummy even before the feast starts. And when the party begins, pair your meals with wine over eggnogs or cocktails. If you are coming over for a party and are unsure if the hosts will serve wine, better to bring a bottle or two so you drink that instead. Plus, you’ll come off as a very generous guest. But remember to drink in moderation!

6. Pause Before You Go For Seconds Or Thirds

When you have finished eating your first round, set your plate aside first before getting more. Go for a walk or catch up with a relative or friend you have not seen for a long time. Do this for around 20 minutes. This is the amount of time your brain needs to tell your stomach that it is full. This will also allow the food that you have consumed to settle in your tummy, giving you that ‘I am full’ feeling. That way, you don’t end up eating any unnecessary food.

7. Prepare A Heart-Friendly Feast If You Are Cooking

If you are the one preparing the holiday feast, it’s more advantageous for you if you’re trying to be healthier. Search for recipes that will allow you to make delicious but still nutritious meals. There are tons of ways that holiday dishes can be made healthier, whether we’re talking about main dishes, appetizers, desserts, or drinks.

8. Eat Slowly

Eating during the holidays is not a race. There is no need to rush. There’s also usually plenty of food for everyone during the holidays; you won’t run out of food before tasting everything. Make sure you chew your food well and to take your time in savoring the delicious dishes served. Eating slow will also help your body get the most nutrients from the food you eat. Studies have shown too that eating slowly helps in weight loss.

9. Be Realistic About Your Holiday Eating Goals

The holidays are not exactly the ideal time to go on a diet. You should really expect to gain some weight since you’ll be doing a lot of eating. But at the same time, you should still try to eat healthier. Or if you find yourself over-indulging, forgive yourself and try to eat healthier and better next time.

10. Don’t Forego Exercise

Just because it’s the holidays doesn’t mean you should take a break from exercising. Doing any physical activity will help you burn the calories that you eat over the holidays. Make walking a habit before or after a meal. Or during parties, turn on the music and invite family and friends to try out the latest dance craze.

11. Conspire With A Family Member Or Friend To Eat Healthy During The Holidays

Healthy eating goals over the holidays are more achievable if shared with your family and friends. Get a healthy eating holiday buddy and provide each other with the support you both need to make better choices in holiday eating.

12. Forego Midnight Snacking

Since holiday eating is so delightful, you might find yourself tempted at night to go to the ref and eat leftovers. Do yourself a favor and don’t do that. Late-night eating results in a number of health issues like weight gain and acid reflux. Also, anything consumed at bedtime are likely to become fat.
Taking care of yourself during the holidays by eating healthy is the best gift.
Eating healthier and taking care of yourself during the holidays and all year round is the best gift you can give to yourself and your family.

We at Weight Loss Surgery Center of Los Angeles support your journey towards a healthy body and lifestyle. If you find yourself still dealing with weight issues that are detrimental to your health (not only during the holidays), we are your partners in creating a path towards reclaiming control of your weight and transforming your life.

Visit us at Weigh Loss Surgery Center of Los Angeles and see for yourself how Dr. David Davtyan, a well-recognized weight loss surgeon, and his team have helped thousands of successful patients overcome their weight loss challenges.
Make that decision right now and you can count yourself as one of the thousands who have successfully conquered health challenges, for a better quality of life.

Posted on behalf of Dr. David G. Davtyan MD, FACS, FICS

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