Tips for Enjoying the Holiday Season Without Stress or Guilt

It is that time of year again – work parties, family gatherings, social events with friends, and all have an abundance of food. From appetizers and festive drinks to sugar cookies and pies there are plenty of chances to indulge in your favorite foods. The availability of these indulgent foods can lead to anxiety for those trying to watch their weight over the holidays. The holidays should be a time to enjoy good company and the food that comes with it. Don’t put stress on yourself by trying to be perfect over the holidays, there is no such thing as the perfect meal or day of eating. Allow yourself to indulge a little on the things you enjoy most, but continue to be mindful of your body’s cues. Below are tips to help you get through the holidays without the stress of what to eat or not eat.

Don’t go to a party or dinner starving

  • Eat normally throughout the day before an event.
  • Focus on nutrient dense foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats)
  • Don’t ‘save up’ by skipping meals or eating very small meals
  • It is impossible to make sound eating decisions when you are starving

Keep your plate balanced

  • Include a variety of foods from each food group
  • Don’t overdo it on one food group, and neglect the others
  • Fill your plate with fiber-rich foods
  • Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are nutrient dense foods that will fill you up and satisfy your hunger

Place nothing off limits

  • Give yourself permission to enjoy the foods you like while keeping moderation in mind
  • When a food is off limits you crave it more, and tend to overeat when you give in to that temptation

Decide which indulgences you most want

  • Ask yourself whether the food or drink you want is something you will really enjoy, or if you want it just because it is there
  • Don’t stand right where the food is to avoid mindless eating

Don’t wait until you are stuffed

  • Stop eating when you are satisfied
  • Be mindful and pay attention to your body’s cues
  • Allow yourself some time before going for seconds

Watch your drinks

  • Seasonal drinks usually have a lot of calories, sugar and fat
  • Enjoy in moderation
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day and night
  • Choose water over sugary beverages as often as possible

Forgive yourself if you overindulge

  • Don’t feel guilty about what has already happened
  • Be more mindful moving forward
  • Get back to your regular eating habits

Stay active

  • There will be a lot of eating and sitting around, so don’t forget to get up and move
  • Go for a walk, play with kids, shovel the driveway, walk around shops, or help clean up are all ways to get moving
  • Continue with physical activity regimen when able

Choose nutrient dense foods when cooking

  • Traditional holiday foods can be calorie dense and lacking in nutrients
  • Boost nutritional value by including fruits and vegetables in dishes
  • Choose low-sodium and fat-free versions of ingredients when cooking

Enjoy company

  • The purpose of the holidays is to spend time with family and friends
  • Be social and move around the party or event
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