Healthy for the Holidays

Brittany Trueman, MHSc, RD
December 17, 2018

The holidays are coming up, and with the twinkling lights and fluffy snow come a slew of work parties, family meals, friends gatherings, potlucks, and an abundance of holiday treats ready to tempt you beyond your self-control. Is there a way to have your cake and eat it too? Read on to find out my best tips for navigating this holiday season and ensuring a guilt-free start to the New Year.

  1. Avoid skipping meals
    You may be thinking that you can balance overindulgence at one meal by not eating at another, but that could actually increase the amount of food you eat in a day. When you skip a meal, your body’s metabolism slows down and burns fewer calories because it doesn’t have the energy to function at full capacity. Additionally, when you do finally eat, your body more efficiently creates food stores so that it is ready for the next time there isn’t food available in a timely manner. Not to mention the tendency to gorge when you’re starving. All of this points to skipping meals being counterproductive to maintaining your waistline.
  2. Mindless Moderation
    Sometimes the desire to indulge is too great and you simply must fill your plate until it’s overflowing. If this sounds like you, try grabbing a smaller plate so you’re forced to stop stacking sooner rather than later. Alternatively—or, additionally—you can start loading your plate up with healthier options like vegetables to reduce the consumption of higher calorie dishes. Filling half your plate with vegetables provides you with many important vitamins and minerals, but also provides fibre which will help you feel fuller longer and less inclined to go for seconds.
  3. Mindful Moderation
    Imagine you show up to your work potluck and there’s baked brie, stuffed mushrooms, and prosciutto-wrapped asparagus appetizers along with mulled wine, eggnog, and hot apple cider. You’re ready to dig into every dish. Unfortunately, you’re more likely to overeat if you’re eating everything. Take the time to investigate what food and drink options are available and try only those that you’re actually excited to eat or those that only come around this time of year instead of what is available all year-round. Eat slowly, savour your bites, and be mindful and respectful of your body’s fullness cues.
  4. Indulge!!
    The most important tip I can give this holiday season is to enjoy yourself! The holidays only come around a few times a year, so have some eggnog, eat the gingerbread cookie, and enjoy the festive feasts. Indulging a few nights a year is not as important as your overall eating habits the other days of the year. Give yourself permission to eat and be merry, but listen to your body’s fullness signals so you don’t overdo it. If you do overindulge, be kind to yourself and return to healthy eating the next day.

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Sincerely in Health,
Brittany Trueman, MHSc, RD
Registered Dietitian