“Just one more,” is a phrase we tell ourselves all too often around the holidays. Just one more tasty treat and then we’ll be satisfied. But if you’re like us, it’s easy to throw healthy eating habits to the wind and give in to temptation. The good news is that there are ways you can still indulge during the holiday season without having to sacrifice the health you’ve worked hard to maintain.
The Challenges of Eating Healthy During the Holidays
Why is it so easy to overindulge during the holidays? Put simply, food is always around. Sweet treats are a hallmark of the season. If you’re gathering with friends and family, it’s more than likely each guest will show up at your door with a plate of freshly-baked goodies. You tell yourself it would be a shame to let treats go to waste, so you make a point to try each one.
The holidays are also an emotional time of year. Many individuals turn to food as a source of comfort when they are feeling sad or lonely. It’s possible that a batch of Christmas cookies brings back cherished memories for someone who is grieving the loss of a loved one.
There are also those of us who grant ourselves a free pass from eating healthy around the holidays, as if we’re exempt from the effects of poor dietary choices this time of year.
5 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips
While eating healthy during the holidays is easier said than done, here are five simple tips that can help you avoid the temptation to overindulge when surrounded by sweets and goodies.
Don’t Skip Meals
It’s not uncommon for individuals to skip meals in an effort to save up calories, effectively “leaving room” for the treats they anticipate loading up on later. But this is not an effective strategy and can actually lead to overeating. Rather than feasting on an empty stomach, try eating a healthy snack to hold you over. You won’t be famished by the time you get to the party and you’re more likely to make responsible dietary choices.
Eat in Moderation
Serving sizes are the key to healthy eating. Eating responsibly isn’t always about avoiding certain foods. It’s okay to indulge, as long as you eat in moderation. If you’re at a party and you find yourself overwhelmed by the number of foods you want to try, start with small servings so that you can have a little bit of everything. It might also be helpful to prioritize certain food items over others. If certain dishes are seasonal, choose them over dishes available all year round.
Listen to Your Body
If you feel full, trust that your body is being honest with you. You may think you know how much you can handle as you’re piling food on your plate, but when your body starts telling you to pump the brakes, heed the warning. At the very least, give yourself a 10-15 minute break after you’ve started to feel full. The feeling may pass or you may realize you have indeed had your fill.
Plan Healthy Options
If you’re attending a pot luck for holidays, be deliberate about the type of food item you’re bringing. It’s likely that the other partygoers will be providing no shortage of unhealthy holiday favorites, so take the opportunity to add balance to the overall meal by bringing a healthier choice. Don’t forget about the beverages, either. Eggnog, a staple of the holidays, can contain up to 500 calories per cup. So it might be wise to stick with water or a sugar-free soda if you expect that you’ll already be getting a fair amount of calories from the food on your plate.
Because the holidays generally involve a fair amount of traveling, routines often fall to the wayside. It’s worth making the effort to stick to your regular exercise routine, though. Your exercise can consist of a short walk with friends and family after a meal or a brief workout at the start of the day. As long as you’re able to devote time to some form of exercise, it can boost your metabolism, improve your mood and even help reduce your stress.
How Friendship Village of South Hills Promotes Healthy Eating
At Friendship Village of South Hills, there is a reason that dining and wellness are essential elements of our community. We believe that the two go hand-in-hand. Our chef-led culinary team uses fresh ingredients to prepare meals that are nutritious and full of flavor. The meals we provide our residents are not only essential to supporting their health and well-being, but the variety of menu options also presents an opportunity to enrich their daily lives.
If you want to learn more about the dining options at Friendship Village of South Hills or how we support the health and well-being of our residents, call 724-941-3100 or complete the form below. Our team would be happy to answer any questions you may have about our community.