Choosing Healthier Holiday Options

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Choosing Healthier Holiday Options

It’s that time of year when it seems like the food just keeps coming. From oversized tins of popcorn to stocking stuffed with chocolates, it seems like we are flooded with goodies for the last few months of the year. For people who are trying to watch their waistline, it can be an especially tricky time of the year to avoid the pitfalls of excess sugar, fat, and sodium.

What can you do to prevent yourself from packing on the pounds and negatively affecting your health? To start with, make sure you are aware of the appropriate, healthy weights for your body frame and height. Talking with a doctor can help you understand what a safe weight is for your body type. If you are in fact overweight or at risk for being overweight, there are several steps you can take to keep the holidays from steering you off-track.

  • Make your goal clear to others. If you plan to eat or socialize with friends and family, give them a heads-up beforehand that you are choosing healthier options this year. While it is inevitable that we all have the family member that insists we eat no matter how full we are, gently remind them that you are appreciative of the extra portion, but let them know you are worried about your health. If you are truly concerned you will offend them by declining, bring an extra dish to take leftover portions in, and let the host know you will eat at a later point.
  • Bring your own healthy options to the table. If you are attending a holiday lunch or dinner, offer to bring a vegetable-filled dish of your own. Most hosts will be more than happy to have one less dish to cook themselves!
  • Use a smaller plate. Holiday dishes can be notoriously large to accommodate the variety of foods most people have. Opt for a smaller dish if available to prevent yourself from overloading your plate. If you are still hungry after the first dish, you can always go back for seconds.
  • Skip the appetizers. Appetizers can quickly add on the calories. From cream cheese on crackers to chocolate samplers, appetizers are usually very small in size but packed in fat and sodium. Skipping on appetizers will give you more room for your meal, and let you enjoy the main course as well.

Keep in mind that a day or two of typical holiday eating is not a bad thing, but when it becomes a habit, it is easy for extra weight gain to turn into a problem. If you have a setback at one meal, remember that you can still make a commitment to eat healthier the next day.

Remind yourself that the holiday season isn’t all about the food and beverages, although those aspects are special parts, in moderation. Stay focused on enjoying spending time with family and friends, and acknowledge that you’ve taken a step in the right direction for managing your health in the new year.

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