Healthy Holidays Eating Guide: Yes, It’s Okay to Splurge a Little Featured

Happy (and Healthy) Holidays to Everyone, from Sheena and Terry Gregg Happy (and Healthy) Holidays to Everyone, from Sheena and Terry Gregg Sheena Gregg

Ah the holidays … one of my most favorite times of year. Yes, I love family, and sure I love gifts, but good gracious do I love the food. There’s something about the Christmas and holiday season in general that provides a platform for specific types of dishes. It seems un-American to prepare a large roasted turkey in the middle of summer, so of course we’ve got to take advantage of the bounty of food brought to the table in December. However, if we’re watching our weight or health in general, the holidays may make us feel uneasy about overdoing it.  

But fear not my friends, your favorite Druid City dietitian is ready to give you some quick tips to navigate the holiday season! 

  1. Do decide which gatherings you want to splurge at the most. If you’re quite the social butterfly or just have a massive family like me, you’re probably getting invited to multiple holiday parties. Instead of going all out at every occasion, decide which gatherings you want to use to eat your heavier meals, versus feeling obligated to eat like it’s going out of style at every party you’re invited to.  
  1. Don’t plan to start dieting in January. Just think about it … when you know that a diet is looming around the corner, what do you start doing? If you’re like me, I start eating everything in sight, because I know I’m going to have to give it up come diet time. But if we stop associating January as a month of deprivation and diet, we can eat sensible portions during the holiday season, avoiding that “all or nothing” mentality.  
  1. Do keep up with your fluids. Did you know that the body often mimics the feeling of hunger as an initial sign of dehydration? By making sure you’re being consistent with good water intake throughout the holidays, you can keep yourself from misreading the initial signs of dehydration as a signal of hunger. And speaking of fluids, be mindful of calories you get from holiday coffee drinks, eggnog, and various alcoholic beverages. A few are okay, but keep in mind that alcohol can lessen inhibitions and promote overeating.  
  1. Don’t eat super-fast. Did you know that it takes approximately 15-20 minutes for the brain and stomach to communicate chemically and give us the sensation of fullness? If we eat rapidly, we may consume copious amounts of food beyond what we needed in the first place to be satisfied. Slowing down your pace of eating and keeping a goal of eating until we are satisfied – versus being stuffed – help us enjoy all our holiday favorites without feeling like we’re breaking the bank in the calorie department.  

Remember, the holidays are a time for friends, family, laughter, and social fun in general. Just because you have certain health goals doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy all your holiday favorites. With a little planning ahead, your holiday season can be delicious AND nutritious! 

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Sheena Gregg

Registered Dietitian/Assistant Director, Health Education and Nutrition Services at The University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa

Website: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sheena-gregg-83612a9b

Druid City Living (DCL) is Tuscaloosa, Alabama's premier community newspaper, covering the great people, places and activities of the area.

 

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