November 2, 2017

5 tips to stay on track and enjoy yourself during the holidays

It’s holiday season. From mountains of candy on Halloween, all the way through New Year’s Day brunch, ‘tis the season for holiday parties, family gatherings and lots (and lots) of food. These tips will help you enjoy the season without derailing your efforts to stay healthy through the celebrations.

  1. Don’t deprive yourself. If you would be sad to miss out on that bit of stuffing, cup of eggnog or that latke that reminds you of this time of year, have a taste, or a small portion. Complete deprivation may make you binge.
  2. Pre-eat before going to those parties. Arriving with a slightly full stomach won’t leave you as much room for gorging on those calorie-laden goodies.
  3. Think before you drink. Is that beverage worth it? You may wish to decide if you prefer your holiday calories in solid or liquid form. Some helpful figures to aid your decision: pinot noir (5 oz) = 121 cal eggnog (8 oz) = 343 cal hot chocolate (8 oz) = 222 cal champagne (5 oz), 89 cal 
  4. Keep up your fitness routine! It’s easy to get sidetracked when the weather is colder and the calendar is filled with travel and celebration, but keeping up your fitness routine can help with holiday stress, and prevent over-indulging.
  5. Don’t forget to sleep. When you are sleep-deprived, you are even more likely to choose comfort foods that might not be the healthiest option.

Holiday Menu Substitutions

As for the meal itself, here are some ideas on how to maximize flavor and fullness with healthier options:

  • Instead of canned cranberry sauce, choose homemade cranberry sauce or relish.
  • Instead of a traditional green bean casserole, choose sautéed green beans with dukkah (nut and spice blend).
  • Instead of sweet potato casserole, choose roasted sweet potatoes with tahini and herbs.
  • Instead of mashed potatoes, choose mashed cauliflower.
  • Instead of turkey gravy, choose vegan gravy.

Contributor: Linda Shiue, MD