Holiday Eating: How to Get Through the Holidays Guilt-Free
Article By | Dr. Stephanie Dewsnap, Family Medicine BSWH
The holiday season, which typically goes well into the New Year, is just around the corner. Friends and families gather around with love, laughter, and (the most anticipated) food. That’s roughly 4-6 months of stretchy pants. With the comfort and excitement that food can bring to an event, it can also come with a lot of extra weight (no pun intended) and regret.
What can you do to make sure you eat healthy and pace yourself around all that wonderful holiday food? Make sure you go into these meals with a solid plan, a little bit (or a lot) of discipline, and be ready to stick to it. Don’t think that all those mouthwatering “limited edition” foods are off limits this holiday season. Just stick to your plan. Have your family and friends help keep you accountable.
- It is easier if you are planning the gathering and the menu is in your court, or kitchen, so to speak. So if you feel up to it, offer to host. Otherwise, bring a healthy side dish to contribute to the festivities.
- Don’t skip on meals throughout the day to save up for the big, highly anticipated feast. Instead, a healthy snack before the meal with a smaller, and healthier, plate can help with portion control. A well-rounded breakfast with healthy and filling snacks throughout the day can do wonders to curb any desire to overindulge.
- Take your time eating to help savor the flavor and allow your brain and stomach to communicate that you are full. This would be a good time to really get to know those in-laws of yours.
- Make sure to keep moving. Holiday seasons can be stressful, but having a solid exercise routine can help decrease stress and balance unhealthy eating habits. For instance, take a family walk before and/or after you eat a big meal.
- Always get 7-9 hours of sleep. Not getting enough sleep can lead to more stress and an unhealthy balance that can affect your mood and food choices. Sleep can have a significant effect on your mood and eating habits.
- Try to limit your intake to one alcoholic beverage, and have it with your meal. Don’t drink on an empty stomach. The choices you make in food and desserts may lead to that internal question to yourself, “Geez, why did I eat that?”
Obviously these are just a few suggestions. You may find something else that works better for you and your personal holiday itinerary. If you have any other questions or concerns, schedule an appointment with your primary care provider to discuss them and to help keep you accountable. While the food is something we all look forward to, remember this time is more about love, laughter, and framily (friends and family).