*Helpful Hints for Eating Healthy During the Holidays*

Grandma's pie...My Aunt's cheesy potatoes... It's the Holidays...My diet starts January 1st

Yes the holidays are a time of year that is meant to spend with family and friends, but it is not a hallpass from your health. The New England Journal of Medicine reported that on average adults will gain one pound over the holiday season. While that doesn't sound "too bad," adults have been shown that they never lose this pound and over the years these pounds just keep adding up.  This report was also done on adults who are are a healthy weight; adults who are overweight gain up to five pounds over the holidays. 
Remember Toe Socks?! hehe
I know I have always fallen into the trap of celebration eating and indulging on foods around the holidays... birthdays... vacations... residency interviews... really any excuse I can come up with! 

Cookies, cakes, candy and cocktails.....
Dinners, appetizers, desserts.......

These "cheat meals" were my excuses to eat things I knew that are not the healthiest options, and when I started thinking about it.... these meals were way more frequent than just one day a year with my extended family. When I read that my habits can lead to a one pound weight gain throughout my adult years, I quickly started researching tips to help prevent this from happening, and here they are!

Tips for eating healthy during the holidays:

Have a plan in place to help you enjoy and not overindulge over the holidays: before going into a holiday season think about the big picture. Is there one dish you look forward to the entire year? Make sure this dish is the one you indulge on in a reasonable portion. 

-Check out the party before jumping into food: grab a nonalcoholic drink or chew a piece of gum and mingle with friends and family. Survey the food during this time and think of which items are healthier options or the one indulgent item 

-Be picky! Enjoy the foods that are only made at the holidays, pick that one dish to indulge in and savor it in a reasonable portion. Skip on things that aren't you favorite or can be enjoyed during the rest of the year. It's easy to think that you must try everything.... you don't!! 

-No Skipping Meals: People who try to skip eating all day before a party to "save up their calories" end up overeating once they get to the party. Be sure to continue a regular routine of eating meals to prevent from being starving and in front of a buffet. Try having a high protein breakfast to keep you full, then a normal lunch and a healthy snack (apple and peanut butter or a small salad) before the party.

-Limit Alcohol: Alcohol has the effects to lower our self control and I think we have all had a few drinks.... then ate an entire pizza at 3am. Limiting alcohol will only help you feel better the next day, stay hydrated, and not overeat. Set yourself a limit before entering any occasion... Tell yourself "I will sip on two drinks." Another tip is to alternate alcoholic drinks with nonalcoholic ones, this will cut your calories from drinks in half and help you stay hydrated. 

-Skip on appetizers: most are full of fat and calories without satisfying your appetite. Try having  a healthy snack before the party instead, or if you do have an appetizer for for fresh fruit or veggies or a small handful of nuts

-Eat Slowly and wait between seconds: Your body is not programmed to know immediately when you are full. Some have stated it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the signal from your stomach that it is full.  This is why when you sit down with a full plate, eat quickly, and get seconds.... then a few minutes later you feel so full you're sick to your stomach. Take the time to talk with friends and family while you eat. Wait about 15-20 minutes before you decide on seconds, this will give your body time to tell you if it is full or not.


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