The holidays are here! This wonderful time of the year brings creamy potatoes, savory meats, tasty treats, and often…weight gain. But have no fear! Here are a few simple tips to help you navigate the holidays while still enjoying the foods you love.
Bring a dish
Bring a low calorie dish that you know you’ll enjoy. Try a green salad, vegetable or fruit platter, or a whole grain dish.
Don’t “save up” your calories
Don’t starve yourself all day in preparation for one meal. This method often leads to overeating. Instead, enjoy light meals during the day and have a snack before the party.
Scan your options before grabbing a plate
Be picky! Look at your options before loading up your plate. Choose your treats and make healthier choices for the rest of your plate. When dining out, read the menu ahead of time and don’t be afraid to ask for substitutions or accommodations. For example, order vegetables instead of fries or ask for the sauce on the side.
Use a smaller plate
Research shows that using a smaller plate (i.e. salad plate or appetizer plate) leads to a lower calorie intake while still feeling full and satisfied.
Choose a seat away from the food
It’s easy to mindlessly eat while enjoying holiday events. Appetizers and other treats make it especially easy to chow down before the main event. Sit away from the food or move your conversations.
Lighten up your drink
High calorie drinks are plentiful during the holidays. Alternate higher calorie drinks with water or sparkling water. Try watering down your drink with sparkling water.
It all adds up! Take the stairs, park your car at the end of the lot, and go for walks to look at Christmas lights.
Can’t live without it? Try the three bite rule! First bite, introduce the flavors. Second bite, savor. Third bite, say goodbye! According to research, our taste buds become desensitized to flavor in 3 bites.
Look for nutrient dense
Fill up on fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. These are lower calorie than many of the calorie-rich holiday foods and are packed with nutrients. Aim to fill ½ of your plate with vegetables.
The holidays come once a year. One or two days of calorie-rich meals won’t cause weight gain.
Healthy and Happy Holidays!
~Leah, Dietetic Intern
12/16/2016 12:24:30 pm
Lost recipe for the beet, quinoa salad with balsalmic vinegerette. I was there at Verdant for the Holiday Bites demo and I really loved the molasses cookies with ginger and the beet quinoa salad, can I get these recipes again please. Thank you! Teri Bryant
12/17/2016 03:39:35 pm
Hi Teri -
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A place for our consultant Registered Dietitian Nutritionists (RDNs) to share nutrition science, yummy and healthy recipes, tips on seasonal ingredients, and other nutritional musings. Enjoy!