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Eating Healthy Through the Holidays

It’s true, the words healthy and holidays don’t always go together. While most people do indulge a little, it’s not necessary to go off the deep end to have a great time this holiday season. To keep your waistline from expanding to Santa-proportions, use these tips to keep you on track throughout the holidays.

It can be challenging when you attend that potluck lunch or dinner at Aunt Janice’s. It’s only polite to try everything, right? Stick with that approach and you’ll be headed down the slippery slope to horizontal expansion. You can still enjoy yourself without offending anyone. Here’s how:

  • Choose smaller portions. You don’t need a mountain of mashed potatoes with a cup of gravy. Simply choose to eat less of each food and give your stomach time to settle before attempting to get any seconds.
  • Use a smaller plate. Dinner plates are often larger than we need, and an appetizer plate fits all the nutrition required. While you may not want to try this at Aunt Janice’s dinner table, it’s great practice at your own home or when surveying a buffet table.
  • Put more vegetables on your plate. You can’t go wrong with vegetables, but avoid adding butter and other sauces. Just a little pepper to bring out the natural flavor is all you need.
  • Plan ahead. If you know you’re going to have a big potluck lunch at work, plan a light and healthy dinner. Or if dinner is going to be an indulgent event, choose a nice big salad with a little bit of whole wheat bread for lunch.
  • If you receive treats, share them. If you’re at work, put them out on your desk and invite your co-workers to help themselves. If your home looks like a Hershey’s factory, consider donating your extras to the food bank.
  • Reduce the sugar. Obviously, too much sugar is not good for you, but the consumption of sugar can lead to cravings for more sugar, creating a vicious cycle for your diet during the holidays.
  • Reduce your alcohol consumption. Not only does it add extra calories, it loosens your inhibitions and can lead you to make poor food choices.
  • Bring a healthy contribution. If you’re bringing something to a party, there is no rule that it has to be an indulgent sweet or savory treat. Try a fruit salad, healthy pasta dish or other healthy item.
  • Steam your vegetables. When preparing your own meals or contributing to a potluck, steam your vegetables and add seasonings, instead of cooking in oil or adding unnecessary fat.

As you can see, there’s still plenty of room to enjoy food, friends and family this holiday season. Just curb your portions, choose healthier options and indulge a little now and then.