JANE’S NUTRITION TIPS – Plan to Balance your Food Intake during the Holidays
For some people, holiday eating means abandoning sensible everyday choices while overeating. You can have the delicious tastes at Christmas time by going for quality and not the quantity of food. These four simple planning tips can help you keep your calories in check over this busy time of year.
Balancing out the Calories for the Holiday Function
Often, clients tell me that they don’t eat all day so they can splurge at the holiday function that evening. Good idea? No!
- Instead, think about maintaining a balance before, during and after the holidays. Don’t skip meals in anticipation of a feast.
- Eating breakfast and lunch will ensure that you are not famished when you arrive at the function.
- If the event starts late, it is wise to have a small snack (e.g., a yogurt with almonds or half a sandwich) in the late afternoon, so you don’t get to the function and start overeating.
Be mindful of what you are eating and when you are full.
- Be sure to fill one plate with the most nutritious foods including a variety of colours (green – broccoli, white – potatoes, yellow – peppers, red – tomatoes, etc.).
- Eat slowly and focus on the task at hand…Eating! This will give the brain time to receive the “full” signal from the stomach and prevent you from overdoing it, but it will also let you savour the flavours (even your mother–in-law’s turkey stuffing…).
Alcoholic Beverages and Desserts
This may add to the festivities, but it also adds a lot of “empty” calories.
- To reduce alcoholic calories, have a vodka with clubsoda (no calories) or cranberry juice.
- Have only one glass of a great red wine, and then have sparkling water with lemon for the rest of the event.
As visions of chocolates, sugar cookies and other tasty holiday treats run through your head and onto your hips, remember to enjoy desserts in petite portions.
- Indulge in a small amount of your favourite, such as homemade shortbread.
- Snack on high fibre fruit with natural sugars throughout the holidays.
Water and Activity
- Drink lots of water. It’ll help you feel fuller, so you’re less tempted to fill up on too much food, and you’ll generally feel better for staying hydrated.
- Make time for staying active. Activity or exercise will help give you more energy, allow you to deal better with the inevitable holiday strain, and help you maintain your weight.
Recipe – These healthy snack bars can be made ahead of time and are a great on-the-go option during some of your busiest days of the year.
Jane Dummer, RD, is a leading dietitian for the Canadian food and nutrition industry and a long-time resident of Waterloo region. Jane offers services for corporations and media, specializing in agri-food, functional foods and workplace nutrition and wellness. Follow Jane on Twitter @janedummer and subscribe to her Grow with Nutrition Blog.
It’s never too late to eat healthy!