(originally posted 12/2/2016. libbysfitnutrition.com)
You have probably read other articles on tips for eating around the holidays, but in my experience, repetition is never a bad thing when it comes to making a new habit. In fact, maybe there will be things on this list that you have NOT heard yet...you never know what is going to be of great use to you...so read on, and apply as needed. :)
1) Drink water! Hydration is often forgotten with coffee, hot cocoa, and alcohol fighting for top contenders in your liquid category at this time of year. Thirst is readily mistaken for hunger when tasty options are before you. So remember to drinkyour 8 glasses of water (or tea) every day. Try drinking a pint before you leave the house, carrying a water bottle with you, alternating alcohol with water, and eating water-rich foods such as apples, cucumber, grapes, and salad greens.
2) Eat what you really want. Don't keep munching on things you "should" eat, and end up over eating because you are not fulfilling your cravings. This is probably the only time of year for your aunt's famous sugar cookies, Grandma's pie and stuffing, and other family goodies; enjoy them, savor them. You will probably end up eating less over all if you don't deny what you want.
3) Fit in exercise every day. Whether it is a dance DVD in your living room, a run in the brisk morning air, a gentle walk with the family (or the dog), or a class/weights at the gym. Be like Nike and, "Just Do It." Exercise will keep you in a better mood - and that is helpful to everyone around you as well!
4) Don't let ALL your meals be splurges. Big Christmas dinner? Eat healthy breakfast and lunch that day so you are not overdoing it (do NOT skip meals!!!). It is easy to fall into the habit of splurging at every meal during this season, whether that is what is in the house, or you feel so stressed you "deserve it," remember there are celebrations all year round, and you need to focus if you do not want to become 'round.' Do eat what you love, but you don't have to sample that so-so dish, just because Aunt Sally made it.
5) Send away the leftovers. Hosting a get-together? At the end of the meal, pack up leftovers into small containers and send most of it away with guests. If there is less in your fridge, there is less for you to pick at later.
Have other tips that work well for your holiday stress levels around food? Share in the comments below!
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Libby is a Registered Dietitian focusing on eating disorder treatment and prevention. She is working on the central coast to create wellness in individuals and the community
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