With the appearance of holiday decorations beginning in October, it’s hard to remember that the holidays don’t officially start until after Thanksgiving. For most of us, November through December will be a blur of parties, goodies, and merriment. But don’t let your mindful eating habits go out the window! With a little know-how, you can satisfy your desire for traditional favorites and still enjoy a guilt-free holiday season. After all, being stuffed is only a good idea if you are a turkey! Try some of these tips; they could help you fine tune your healthy eating habits and leave you thinner as you transition into the New Year.
Holiday season fit tips
- Find healthy delicious alternatives: Utilize the internet to search for recipes, or ask others about healthy alternative recipes. Learn what healthy substitutions can be used for less healthy ingredients.
- Divide your plate: Before reaching for turkey and potatoes, fill two-thirds of your plate with a rainbow of vegetables. Healthy holiday veggies without sauce or extra butter will fill you up and keep you from indulging in unhealthy food.
- Chew gum: To avoid nibbling, pop a piece of gum to occupy your mouth when you’re in the kitchen so you can save those calories for the treats you’ll really enjoy. Researchers at Louisiana State University discovered that people who chewed gum throughout the afternoon were less likely to snack mindlessly than those who didn’t.
- Outsmart the bird: Reach for the lighter pieces of meat because they have fewer calories and less fat than the darker ones. Most of us know that another way to cut calories and fat is to take off the skin. Remember, a serving size of meat is about the size of a deck of cards. So be conscious of how much you put on your plate, and pass on that second helping. If you’re having another meat like ham or lamb, take smaller portions of each. And watch out for the gravy train. Turkey usually comes with gravy, which can add excess fat, calories, and sodium. Limit gravy to a tablespoon, and keep it off other items, like the dressing.
- Focus on the people: Slow down and focus on the fellowship of family and friends gathered rather than the food. You will enjoy the food even more when you eat slower and savor every bite. Truly taste the food by slowly chewing and putting your fork down between bites, and don’t forget to appreciate the conversations among family and friends.
- Use smaller plates and serving utensils: Try a salad or dessert plate for the main course and use a teaspoon to serve yourself. What looks like a normal portion on a 12-inch plate or a large bowl can, in fact, be sinfully huge. In one study conducted at the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University, even nutrition experts served themselves 31% more ice cream when using oversize bowls compared to using smaller bowls. The size of the serving utensil mattered too! Subjects served themselves 57% more when they used a three-ounce scoop versus a smaller scoop. To learn more about why using a smaller plate helps with consumption visit: