The holiday season is upon us! Winter festivities are the perfect time for families and friends to gather around the dining table for food, drinks, and joyous conversations. Don’t let the abundance of holiday parties keep you from maintaining the healthy habits that you have built throughout the year.
Enjoy a merry and healthy holiday season with these mindful practices at your next social gathering:
- Eat before: Instead of skipping a meal in an attempt to “save up” calories for the holiday feast, try eating a small meal or snack before instead. This may prevent overeating from an empty stomach. Potential small snacks or meals can include munching on veggie sticks and hummus, having a yogurt parfait with your favorite fruits, or a making a quick open-faced sandwich on whole wheat toast or pita bread.
- Bring a dish: If you’re going to a potluck style dinner, consider bringing a dish filled with vegetables, such as winter squash or broccoli, or lean meats, such as chicken or turkey. This could also be an opportunity to introduce your friends and family to a new dish or put a healthy twist on a classic family favorite! Check out this infographic from MyPlate for some healthier holiday substitutes.
- Keep a distance from the appetizer table: Standing right next to the snack or appetizer table can make it really easy to mindlessly grab food and overindulge. Try having your conversations away from the food to encourage healthy and mindful eating.
- Survey the buffet: If dishes are laid out for self-service, take a walk around the table before grabbing your plate to scan for dishes you plan on eating. Strategizing a plan before piling your plate with food, can help ensure you’re making healthful choices and monitoring portion sizes.
- Listen to your fullness level: Before you help yourself to a second serving, take a 10-20 minute break after you’re done eating to let your food digest. Make conversation with others, have a glass of water, and then evaluate your fullness level to see if you are still hungry.
- Stay active: Start a new holiday tradition, and plan an active family or friend event before or after your holiday meal. For example, try encouraging everyone to take a short walk in between dinner and dessert!
Enjoy the holiday season, but don’t forget to keep your health in mind while celebrating! For more tips on healthy holiday celebrations, like incorporating seasonal fruits and vegetables to your holiday meals or making healthy baking alternatives, visit the CNS blog!