Eating healthy during the holidays can be a challenge. So how can you get through all of the holiday meal temptations? Focus on weight maintenance and enjoying special foods in moderation.
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Traditional holiday meals tend to be high in calories and low in nutrient value. Typical foods such as gravy, dressing, buttery potatoes, creamy green beans, pies, and other desserts are calorie-dense foods. They can contain high amounts of fat and salt which can be dangerous to those suffering certain chronic health conditions. These are not “never eat” foods, but they should be limited. Choose carefully which ones you’d prefer to have and then enjoy in small portions.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these tips can help you enjoy your holiday meals guilt-free.
It is okay to enjoy some of those foods that are special to you, your family, your culture, or maybe those foods you only get once a year. Trying to completely avoid all the foods special to you is difficult to do, adds to holiday stress, and may backfire into binge eating. So truly enjoy your favorite special items, in small amounts (zero guilt), and then be satisfied and done with that treat.
If you slip up, with larger portions or multiple heavy meals, get right back to healthy eating with your next meal or the next day.
Overindulging will not affect most people’s chronic health conditions as long as they get back to their regular healthy eating afterward. Remember to focus on:
Exercise can help make up for overeating and can relieve some stress.
Drink plenty of water. The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine recommends the following for daily fluid intake:
Sleep loss can make it harder to manage blood sugar and appetite.
Overall, enjoy your holiday festivities with friends and family. By focusing on weight maintenance you have already overcome to biggest challenge with holiday meals.
If you have questions or concerns about your weight or diet, contact your primary care provider.