How do you stay healthy during the holidays? Sanford Health dietician Kristen Liebl has five steps to follow.
(1)Keep Structured Meals and Snacks. According to Brain Wansink, author and researcher of Mindless Eating, the average person has already consumed 90% of their daily calorie needs before sitting down to their holiday meal. Try to stick to your normal eating pattern as best you can. If eating later than usually try to have a small snack before hand. If you happen to eat more appetizers than planned cut way back on portions at the main meal.
(2) Enjoy your food. Many people get hung up on the "I should eat that" or "I shouldn't eat that". Try to focus on only the foods you really like, sit down, eat slowly and really taste and enjoy the foods you have chosen to eat. This will help you yo be more in-tuned with your hunger and fullness queues and hopefully prevent overeating and staying within your calorie needs.
(3) Stay Active. This is one of my favorite tips for staying well during the holidays. Exercise is a stress reliever and gives you energy. Increased stress and fatigue can put a person at risk for unhealthy eating habits such as eating when not physically hungry and overeating. Try to make new family traditions that include physical activity. Go for a walk after the big meal see if there is a open gym night you can all attend.
(4) Serve/bring a variety. Not everything needs to have a stick of butter added to it. This doesn't mean you have to use only light or fat free products, bake or broil food prep, no cream or cheese sauces, and forbid any added sugar for all dishes. If Auntie Kim's dressing recipe just isn't the same without regular pork sausage and real butter or grandmas famous pumpkin pie just isn't the same without real whipped cream on top don't sweat it. Try making changes in some of the foods served. Sweet potatoes are so rich and creamy on their own you could maybe pull back the amount of butter, marshmallows or brown sugar you add to them. Adding herbs and spices and maybe a little plain yogurt to your mashed potatoes can still have the Wow factor. Or simple just adding a fresh fruit or vegetable platter so you and your guests have different options. Let's also not forget about sodium.
(5) Watch your holiday drinks. Hot chocolate, apple cider, alcoholic beverages, egg nog can all add significant calories. One 8 oz glass of egg nog can have more calories than a slice of pumpkin pie with real whipped cream.