We all struggle with eating temptations over the holidays.
The key to healthy holiday eating is to plan ahead so you feel in control to enjoy the foods you love in moderate portions.
Here are some tips that have worked for my patients and can work for you too:
1-Don’t Go to the Party Hungry
Skipping regular meals and snacks throughout the day will only leave you feeling ravenous when you get to the party.
It’s especially hard to resist overeating when you’re hungry.
That’s why I recommend you have a healthy 100-200 calorie snack beforehand.
Examples may include an apple and peanut butter, hummus and carrots or a handful of nuts.
2-Bring a Healthy Dish to the Party
Having a dependable dish that you know you will enjoy can help keep you on track, giving you a confidence boost and reminder that you’re in control.
Two of our family favorite holiday dishes we often bring are a colorful roasted vegetable platter or a fruit pizza dessert.
If these dishes sound good to you, you can do an internet search and find many recipe options to try for your next holiday celebration.
Bringing a healthy dish is one way to show others that you value your health and healthy eating.
You may even start a new trend by nudging friends and family toward better health.
A healthy lifestyle can be contagious!
3-Make a Plan to Deal with Food Pushers
Food pushers are most often people you know who prod you to eat more or eat foods that you know are less healthy.
As I tell my patients, it can be very challenging when you’re trying hard to do the right thing for your health but people in your life create obstacles that make things harder.
Listen for the ways loved ones create emotional ties to foods, such as “I made this for you because I love you.”
Look out for shaming pressures to eat, such as “One bite won’t hurt you” or “Can’t you break your rules just this one time?”
Because many of my patients don’t like confrontation and don’t like saying “no” to people, they end up being passive in these situations.
Instead, I empower them to practice asserting themselves and taking back control.
I encourage you to do the same.
You can use phrases like “This looks wonderful but I’m really full” or “Of course I will try it, let me have a taste.”
4-Re-think Health Goals
Holiday time is always marked by celebrations and the increased availability of enticing meals and snacks in the workplace and in the home.
Setting a short-term goal of weight maintenance is more practical and achievable than weight loss during the holiday season.
Healthy eating is all about balancing the dependable foods you enjoy with trying new foods.
You want to stay flexible and be able to taste and savor all foods in sensible portions.
I hope these tips will encourage you to eat healthier at your next celebration – and enjoy it!
Robert Kushner, MD