Eating healthy during the holidays and maintaining a good exercise routine can be a challenge, simply due to a lack of time. There is shopping to be done, parties to attend, and many families travel out of town or have guests visiting them. The good news is, you don’t have to chalk this time of year up as a loss to your health goals. With a little bit of planning, you can continue to eat healthy during the holiday break.
1. Don’t go to parties or events hungry. It can be easy to overindulge on sweets at events during the holiday season. To help from eating too much of the unhealthy snacks at parties, be sure to eat before heading out for the evening. By filling up on healthier food at home, you are less likely to be as tempted by food that may be unhealthy options.
2. Map out your plate. Our registered dietitians recommend mentally splitting your plate into quarters. Two fourths of your plate should be dedicated to veggies or greens. Another fourth can be for lean proteins, and the last fourth for whole grains. Sticking to this rule of thumb can help you make healthy choices at dinners or holiday events. If you are worried that you won’t have enough healthy options to fill up your plate, you can always offer to bring your own dish. This way, you can be sure that there will be a nutrient-rich option at the table.
3. Bring healthy snacks with you. You don’t have to break into the office stash of Christmas cookies because you feel hungry in the afternoon. Keep healthy snacks with you during this time of year when sugary snacks are available almost everywhere. An apple, almonds, or sliced vegetables like carrots or peppers are great alternatives for healthy eating. When you get a little hungry, enjoy your healthy snack first before reaching for a sugary option.
4. Eat healthy options first. It bears repeating! A good rule of thumb is to enjoy everything in moderation. Another good rule is to enjoy healthier options first. By filling up on vegetables, fruit, or lean protein first, you will be able to enjoy but not overindulge on the sweeter foods.
5. Keep exercising. Though this time of year can keep us busy, one of the best ways to keep healthy during the holiday season is to keep exercising. Enjoy a daily walk with family, park farther away when shopping, or find other ways to sneak in exercise throughout this busy season. It will help you stay on track for a healthier new year.
If your New Year’s resolution is a healthy diet and exercise program, consider meeting with one of our registered dietitians. They work one-on-one with community members to find the right meal plans and nutrition to meet everyone’s health goals. Learn more at our website’s Nutrition Services page.