This time of year can be as stressful as it is joyful. The holidays are a great time of gathering and celebrating. However, for many people, the holidays bring anxiety over food choices and overindulgence. Do you fear diving into holiday foods? In this month’s blog, we’re addressing the holiday food fears and giving you the tools you need to maintain your health goals all through this hectic month.
One of the best parts of a standard holiday meal is that it can be easily converted into MyPlate. We love using MyPlate as a simple checklist for creating healthy, balanced meals. Aim to make ½ of your plate fruits or non-starchy vegetables, ¼ whole grains or starchy vegetables, and ¼ a lean protein. You also want to ensure that you’re incorporating healthy fats at each meal to also keep you full. At least 3 of your meals per day should contain 3 or more different food groups.
So often, people skip meals during the holidays in order to “save” for larger meals. Skipping meals leads to bingeing later on, increased cravings, drops in blood sugar, fatigue, and irritability. Stay happy this holiday season by eating regularly throughout the day. Start the day with a healthy, balanced breakfast to get you off on the right foot. Aim for MyPlate based meals, complete with fiber, protein, whole grains, and healthy fats to keep you full.
Bring Your Own
If you’re attending parties or family gatherings, offer to bring a healthy side dish. Take on the salad-making responsibilities or try out that roasted veggie dish you’ve been waiting to try. When you bring your own veggies, you can rely on having at least one healthy option on hand.
A healthy and balanced diet includes all foods. They all have a place, even those cookies and cakes. The key to enjoying these treats is practicing mindfulness. Be intuitive about your food choices. Choose foods that you truly enjoy, not just the store-bought cake that someone shoved in your hand. Evaluate which foods really do bring that sense of satisfaction and joy to your life. Choose those. Don’t just eat the candy that doesn’t do much for you because it’s around. Aim for wholesome and deliciousness and take the time to savor that treat slowly.
Physical activity doesn’t have to go out the window because you allowed yourself to enjoy indulgences. Make a point to go on a family walk after dinner or play an active game with friends. Embrace the cold and go for a morning hike before festivities begin or do a yoga video in your downtime. Activity does not need to be strenuous, but you’ll feel much better when you get that blood flowing!
This holiday season, ditch the stress and guilt associated with food. Refocus your holiday to be about spending quality time with friends, family, or giving back to the community. The holiday season is about celebrating the ones you love, rather than the food itself. Work on incorporating foods you love with mindfulness and intention, and experience the liberation from food rules. Check out more ideas on our holiday Pinterest board here! Happy holidays from Let’s Move! STL!
Let's Move! STL Dietitians