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Healthy Eating During the Holidays

The season of cheer is here! The holiday season, while full of joy, can also be a major source of stress for a lot of people. There are temptations around every corner, from calorie-laden drinks like eggnog, to savory side dishes like stuffing, to irresistible festive cookies. It can be tough to stay on track with health and wellness goals during the holidays, but we have a few tips to help you stay on track.

Plan your Meals

Holiday meals can be a huge source of temptation. Feel good about what you are eating by bringing your own healthy dishes to holiday parties that fit the nutrition recommendations from your doctor or dietitian. Load up your plate with vegetables first, then take small bites of the other dishes you’d like to try. Be mindful of dishes that may seem healthy but aren’t, like buttery vegetables or sugary cranberry sauce. Be sure you are drinking plenty of water, which will not only help you digest effectively, but will help promote feelings of fullness.

Be Mindful

Being mindful about eating can go a long way. Instead of indulging on all the sweets at the table, be mindful about choosing your favorite treat and enjoying just a few bites. Avoid going to parties starving, as that may make you want to demolish the snack table before the meal even begins. Chew your food slowly and set your fork down between bites. Enjoy the flavors of the foods you’re eating and give your brain time to listen to hunger cues so you can stop eating when you are full.

Instead of getting hung up on the things you “can’t” eat, absorb yourself in all the sights, sounds, and smells of the season—from your mother’s laugh, to the bright lights adorning all the houses on the block.

Plan your Exercise

Between the bake sales, virtual holiday events, and shopping for the perfect gift, it can be difficult to find the time to exercise. In order to ensure you are getting the weekly recommended amount of exercise in, you may need to schedule it out day by day. If you know you have a holiday event after work, set your alarm a little early to get a quick workout in. If you’re shopping at the mall, do a couple extra laps around the shops. It’s all about being mindful and fitting in exercise where you can. Don’t forget to bring your walking shoes to holiday dinners! Instead of hanging out at the table after dinner, grazing on leftovers, tie up your laces and recruit family to join you for a brisk walk.