10 Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

By Jamie Hanson
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When it comes to holiday eating at social events, the choices can be overwhelming. Most holiday foods are laden with fat and calories that might railroad your healthy eating plan. If you do not have a plan, it is easy to overindulge. The good news is that with some preparation you could stick with your weight loss regimen and even treat yourself to a few desserts without packing on the pounds this year!

Top Tips

1. Eat before the party.

2. Do not stand near the food table.

3. Always use a plate and utensils.

4. Make sure healthy options will be available.

5. Do not deny yourself.

6. Avoid beverages with calories.

7. Focus on activities other than eating.

8. Pair up!

9. Limit high fat items.

10. Maintain perspective!

The Top Ten in Detail

1. Eat before the party. Try not to go to a party hungry. The thought process of saving calories throughout the day and indulging later does not work. This plan will cause excessive hunger and may lead to binge eating at the party. After gastric bypass this behavior will put you at risk for dumping syndrome while adjustable gastric band patients increase risk of blockage or obstruction. Try eating a cheese stick, piece of fruit, yogurt, or protein bar before the event.

2. Do not stand near the food table. If you are socializing with friends or family, mingle in a room that does not contain food. Never stand over the food table or kitchen island which may lead to unconscious nibbling.

3. Always use a plate and utensils. Make a conscious effort to put any foods that you consume onto a plate and use a fork, knife, or spoon to consume. Finger foods are easy to unconsciously over consume. Do not feel obligated to be a member of the “clean plate club”. It is acceptable to leave a few bites behind every time.

4. Make sure healthy options will be available. Offer to bring a healthy dish such as a fruit or vegetable tray or low fat/low calorie dessert.

5. Do not deny yourself. Closely evaluate the food choices. Choose 2-3 of your favorite foods and eat 3 bites of each. Remember to put these on a plate, use utensils, and no second helpings. The “3-bite plan” can work for desserts too. Choose your favorite and allow yourself a bit of indulgence without the guilt. beverage

6. Avoid beverages with calories. Holiday drinks and alcoholic beverages can be loaded with calories. Margaritas, white Russians, egg nog, and hot chocolate can contain up to 500 calories per 8 ounce serving. Stick with sugar free products, water, or artificially sweetened beverages that do not contribute to unnecessary calories. Try to drink a full glass of water between each alcoholic or calorie containing beverage

7. Focus on activities other than eating. Many holiday events revolve solely around food. Limit the amount of time you and your family spend engaged in eating. Plan activities such as board games, card games, gift exchanges, and other activities that do not involve food.

8. Pair up! Find someone else who is attending the party who has similar weight loss goals. Use each other for accountability to stay on track.

9. Limit high fat items. Fat is more calorically dense than carbohydrate or protein products so by reducing fat you can usually cut calories. Watch out for fried foods, cream-based soups, casseroles, pies, processed meats, pastries and baked goods.

10. Maintain perspective! Overeating one day will not break your diet. If you over indulge and slide off track, do not panic. Stop the behavior immediately and get back on the program. Consider this as a learning experience and brainstorm ways on how to prevent it from happening again in the near futur