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Ten Tips for a Healthy Holiday

The Holiday Season is stressful enough without having to feel “guilty” about your diet. Whether you’re in the process of losing weight or just want to continue to make healthy choices, this article reveals 10 tips for a healthy holiday.

I’m sure you agree when it comes to holiday parties and dinners it’s easy to get off track. How many times have you said “oh well, tomorrow is another day”, and then you go a little nuts only to feel that guilt the next day and the day after? It’s all about compromise and making small adjustments that impact the big picture in a positive way. These tips will keep that smile on your face and keep the good bacteria dancing in the gut.

Trim back the trimmings. Deck the halls for sure but when it comes to having all those sweets on hand…well let’s talk about that, and this goes for the office as well which is usually more dangerous during the holidays. Sees candy is very popular during Christmas but it’s loaded with sugar and empty calories not to mention allergenic ingredients (milk, nuts, gluten). If you are buying gifts for clients or bringing goodies into the office, opt for nuts, edible fruit arrangements, homemade paleo cookies or treats (see our recipe page),  beautiful flowers or plants.  To shave calories when entertaining, go easy when adding nuts, cheese, cream sauces, gravy, butter, and whipped cream; additions that don’t add much to the meal, but can add plenty to your waistline. Trim calories wherever you can so you leave the party feeling satisfied, but not uncomfortably numb.

Do not wear stretchy clothes. When you wear loose-fitting attire, chances are you’ll overeat, but if you wear snug clothing you will be too busy holding in your stomach to overeat or at least you’ll be aware that it will stretch if you overeat. Stand away from the appetizer table while you converse with guests so you’re not tempted to overeat.

Chew gum. When you don’t want to eat, pop a piece of sugarless gum (sweetened with xylitol) into your mouth. This works well when you’re cooking or when you’re trying not to dive into the buffet table.

Be a food snob. If you don’t love it, don’t eat it. Scan the buffet for foods you truly treasure and skip the dishes you can eat anytime. Don’t feel pressured to sample everything on the table. Go ahead and indulge in your personal holiday favorites, then find a seat and, slowly and mindfully, savor every mouthful.

No skipping meals. Always eat breakfast and lunch on the day of a party. People who skip meals to save up calories tend to overeat everything in sight. Eating sensibly throughout the day will take the edge off the appetite and empower a bit of restraint. Start with a nourishing breakfast, have a light lunch, then a small snack or salad shortly before the event.

Ease your way to the table.  When you arrive at the party, grab a sparkling water with a twist, and wait at least 30 minutes before eating. This will give you time to relax, get comfortable in your surroundings, and survey your food choices on the buffet before diving in. Just because there are a lot of choices on the table doesn’t mean you have to let your guard down.

Add fun and games.  It’s always a good idea to take the focus off food by getting family and friends more active during holiday parties. Rent a photo booth with a Christmas theme or set up games for the guests like horseshoes, crafts (make an ornament to take home) and don’t forget to get some dancing started. This not only adds another dimension to the party, it burns calories. Karaoke was a hit at our last part and you can download an app for that on your smart phone.

Alternate alcohol with nonalcoholic beverages. Alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories — especially holiday favorites like eggnog. Put a picture of good water with lemon and cucumber slices with nice glasses and encourage your guests to enjoy. Keep no-calorie flavored sparkling waters on hand as well.

Balance the foods. Make sure if you are hosting you put more protein base whole foods on the table such as veggies, fruit, salsa with whole grain gluten-free chips, nuts, meatballs in a tomato base, stuffed mushrooms with turkey sausage and a small amount of goat cheese, vegan cheese (made with cashews or almonds) drizzled with warm olive oil and fresh rosemary, paleo cookies made with almond flour and coconut oil as opposed to refined flour and butter, bite-size pumpkin muffins to name a few. Check out our recipe page for recipes or purchase Living Gluten Free book that has over 30 pages of allergy-friendly recipes.

Portion control. Putting only a few favorite items on your plate when you go to the food table is a smart way to control your intake. Return as many times as you like, but only take two items each time. Variety stimulates appetite, and if you limit your choices to just a few items, it will be easier to control than eating a little bit of everything. As far as a dinner, limit grains to 1/3 a cup and your protein to the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand. Load up on salad and veggies (as long as they don’t have a ton of cream added). Eat a sliver of dessert and enjoy every bit – slowly. In fact, the faster we eat the more stress we give the GI tract and the more likely we will end up uncomfortable. We also send the wrong signal to the brain by eating fast. Stop eating when your 80% full.

Holiday parties are much more than food and drinks. They are a time to celebrate the season, and enjoy the company of family and friends. If you keep the focus on the spirit of the season, not the buffet table, you’ll most likely get through the holidays without gaining a pound.

And if you do splurge, don’t beat yourself up as it will only make things worse. Just get right back to normal eating and exercising, and try to do a better job at the next party. Don’t forget to keep your normal exercise routine in during the holidays or at least do a daily walk of 30-45 minutes and yes, don’t forget to breathe!

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The information provided in this site is intended for general informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice and is not intended to provide complete medical information. KidsMisdiagnosed, Inc does not offer personalized medical diagnosis of patient-specific treatment advice. All medical information presented should be discussed with your healthcare professional. Remember, the failure to seek timely medical advice can have serious ramifications. KidsMisdiagnosed, Inc urges you to discuss any current health related problems you or your child are experiencing with a healthcare professional immediately.