December 18, 2012

Healthy Holiday Balance

Lisa Abbott, Chartwells dietetic intern, offers students heading home for the holidays a few tips on how to eat right.

Holiday spread
Enjoy holiday favorites, but avoid stuffing yourself past the point of satiety. File photo

The holidays are a joyful time of the year to celebrate with family and friends; however, many celebrations involve food, which can lead to overeating and weight gain. Pounds gained over the holidays have the potential to add up, but with control and balance you can still fully enjoy the holiday season and the foods you love. During the holidays the key is to achieve a healthy balance of activity, fun and food. 

Here are some tips for achieving a healthy holiday balance:

  1. Look at all the food available before making a plate. Only choose a few favorite foods and some fruits and vegetables in order to get adequate nutrients and to keep the meal balanced. 
  2. Do not stuff yourself. Eat slowly and only until you are satisfied. Enjoy your favorite holiday treats in small portions.
  3. If you realize you have overeaten, eat less at the next meal and work in some activity or exercise. You could go on a walk or maybe start a new tradition of walking around the neighborhood looking at holiday decorations with family or friends. 
  4. Play games at holiday events. It's a good way to interact, have fun and take your mind off all the food that is present. 
  5. Avoid drinking an excess of punch or alcoholic beverages. They are full of empty calories and alcohol can also lessen your inhibitions and possibly lead to overeating.

Enjoy this time with your family and friends, and be sure to think about what you are celebrating, not just about how great the food is. The temptation to over indulge may be there but just follow these tips so that after the holidays you still feel merry, cheery and bright.

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