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November 27, 2021

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Weekend Doctor: Holiday eating

By Sophia Volpe, RD Blanchard Valley Hospital Dietetics

The holidays are quickly approaching, which can be such a joyful time of the year for celebrations with family and friends. However, they can also wreak havoc on our nutrition goals. The following are some helpful tips on how to be mindful during the holidays.

Don’t skip meals. A common thought around the holidays is, “if I skip lunch, I will be able to save those calories and eat them all at dinner.” However, skipping meals often leads to overeating at the next meal. It is important to eat three balanced meals during the holidays to help avoid overeating at gatherings.

Choosing your plate. “Should I choose a small plate? A large plate? Two large plates?” What plate to choose may seem like a silly thing to think about, however, it can have a huge impact on how much you eat during a gathering. Try grabbing one normal-sized dinner plate for the meal. Focus on portion sizes and choosing the foods you will enjoy most. Remember, the leftovers will still be there tomorrow. 

Portion sizes. It is easy to fall into the trap of wanting to load your plate to the brim. Or even go back for seconds. When building your plate, aim for a quarter of the plate to be filled with starches, half of the plate to be filled with non-starchy vegetables and a quarter of your plate to be filled with a source of protein. Choose your favorite holiday dessert and put it on the side. Listen to your hunger cues, if you are full after eating your meal, save the dessert for later. 

Eat your vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables are a great way to help avoid overeating. They are high in nutrients and fiber, which helps keep you fuller longer. What if there are no veggies? Bring your own! The https://www.eatingwell.com website has some amazing recipes on vegetable side dishes to bring to your next gathering. Aim for eating your vegetables first to help you feel fuller faster.

Exercise. It is important to remember to get in quality exercise during the holidays. While it may seem like there is not enough time to work out plan for 30 minutes each day to get in some form of exercise. Studies have proven that walking for as little as 10 minutes after your meals can have a positive impact on your blood sugar levels.

The most important thing to remember about the holidays is that it is a time to spend with family, friends and enjoy traditions. If you happen to eat more than planned, it is okay. Don’t beat yourself up over it. Get back on track with your holiday eating goals and start up your typical healthy eating habits as soon as possible. Happy Holidays!