Eating for the Health of It

Enjoy the Holidays Without Guilt

By Karen Sabbath, MS, RD, CSO

The holiday season presents challenges for even the most disciplined eaters. From holiday parties, gatherings of family, friends and co-workers, treats and gift baskets at work and bags of homemade cookies, the focus seems to be food, food, food. Is it possible to eat well and get through to January without packing on the pounds? Absolutely…and here’s how!

Enjoy your favorite holiday dishes in small portions…moderation is the key. Take a pass on foods that are less tempting.

Alcohol can be a source of excess calories AND it can stimulate your appetite. You can stretch your alcoholic beverage by adding club soda, fruit juice or diet soda OR avoid it altogether by having another beverage. Try to limit your alcohol to 0-1 drink/d for women and no more than 2/d for men. (1 drink=5 oz. wine, 1 ½ oz. hard alcohol, 12 oz. beer)

Try not to go to a party or family gathering if you are hungry…you’ll just eat more! If you have a small meal or snack before, preferably one with fiber and protein (like high fiber cereal and yogurt, or a half sandwich on whole wheat bread) you will eat less at “party time”

Fill your plate with fruits, vegetables and salad and go easy on the rich entrees or side dishes. Watch out for large portions.

Omit trans fats from your menu by avoiding processed foods.

Recipes can be made healthier by modifying for calories and fats especially if you are the chef!

Help your host or hostess by offering to bring a dish…make it healthy AND delicious. You’ll know that there will be at least ONE thing you can eat.

Exercise a little more than usual to stay in shape and burn off those extra calories and pounds.

Allow yourself to eat and enjoy your food, but try to stop when you are satisfied instead of stuffed.

Look around at the foods that are available and make some decisions about what choices would be best, before digging into the first thing you see.

Talk to everyone in the room. Make family and friends the main focus instead of food. Socialize….away from the table!