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Healthy Holiday Eating

Think ahead and make a plan for healthy Holiday eating.

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There are always decisions to make about food, and the time period between Halloween and New Year’s can be particularly challenging. Tasty treats tend to appear more often at work and festive gatherings, and to come as gifts. They may also tempt you when grocery shopping.

Celebrations do not have to derail your lifestyle. It is important to think ahead and make a plan.

How can you avoid temptation when delicious foods and calories abound?

1. Adopt a FlexibleMindset Many people have an attitude of all or nothing: either ‘I’m on a diet or I’m not on a diet’. This type of thinking can lead to negative self-talk, or being hard on yourself for small indulgences, overeating, or weight gain.

2. Small Choices Make Big Changes Look for opportunities to make healthy choices and feel good about them. Small choices can add up to big changes. Each moment that you put something in your mouth or choose to exercise adds up over time. That can be true for weight loss or weight gain.

3. Eat What You Love Around the holidays, we often find ourselves with too many food options, for too many days in a row. It can be challenging to decide what to eat and when to say no.

Eat what you love and do so in moderation. Consider choosing items that are unique to the season, instead of eating foods you can have any time of the year.

4. Fight the Urge to Splurge Creating a diversion may be enough to help you resist the urge to splurge on unhealthy temptations. For instance, you could try walking around your house or office for 5 minutes, climb the stairs, or complete a small task. You could also try drinking a glass of water or eating a piece of fruit first.

5. Slow Down You could also try eating mindfully. Slow down to really taste and enjoy your food. Eating more slowly also allows your body time to signal your brain when you’re full, which takes about 20 minutes. If you eat too much too quickly, it’s easy to gobble up as much as twice what your body needs before your brain even gets the message.

6. Know Your Triggers Trigger foods are those that may spur you to binge or eat more than usual. While some people can eat less healthy foods in moderation and be fine, others may have to avoid certain trigger foods completely, or they’ll spiral into unhealthy eating patterns or abandon their plan altogether.

7. Plan for Activity How will you add physical activity into days that might otherwise involve a lot of sitting? Sign up to walk or run a community race. Enjoy catching up with family or friends on a walk or jog instead of on the couch. In between meals, take a family hike at a nearby park, stroll around your neighborhood, or play a game of flag football.

8. Embrace the Alternatives If you’re serving dinner, consider baking, broiling, or grilling food instead of frying. Replace sour cream with Greek yogurt and mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower. Fruit by itself makes an excellent dessert. Try placing a bowl of clementines or apples on the holiday table. Make take-home containers available ahead of time, so guests don’t feel they have to eat everything in one sitting.

Remember . . .While food is a big part of the holidays, there are other paths to staying healthy. Even little bits of extra exercise can be very helpful for everyone over the holidays.



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