Memorial Regional Health: Six tips for a healthy holiday
Memorial Regional Health Registered Dietitian
If you’re wondering if you can both enjoy holiday treats and keep your weight and blood sugar under control, the answer is yes.
You don’t have to forego your favorite foods. Instead, make smart, simple decisions in the coming weeks by following these six nutrition and behavior tips.
Pinpoint your treat days in advance
Try to keep your holiday food frenzy to only certain days. Yes, goodies abound for weeks before the actual holiday dates — at work, family gatherings, etc. But if you can decide ahead of time that you’ll indulge only at coming parties, gatherings and dates you select in advance, you’ll avoid a lot of mindless calories.
Bring a healthy meal or snack to holiday gatherings
You’ll be contributing, anyway, so why not bring something that’s both tasty and good for everyone? You’re in control. Your dish can be your go-to for keeping excess calories, sugars and fats down. Choose your recipe wisely. Fruit- and vegetable-based side dishes work well. EatingWell.com is a reliable source for attractive and healthy recipes.
On high-calorie days, have a plan
Consume a lighter meal earlier in the day if you know you’ll be enjoying a calorie-rich meal later on. Also, get some exercise, or simply get moving, to offset the extra goodies. The basic concept here is balancing calories in with calories out.
Pay attention when you eat and drink
Take your time when eating. Take sips of water or put your utensil down between bites. Use a smaller plate to keep portions in control. It takes 20 to 30 minutes after starting a meal for the appetite center in your hypothalamus to realize that you are feeling full.
Share your abundance
If you’re hosting and you tend to consume too many post-festivity leftovers, consider purchasing containers or storage bags to send extras with your guests as they leave.
Carry healthy snacks
If you’ll be out and about shopping or running errands for long stretches, bring some healthy snacks with you. This could help prevent impulse eating or high-calorie dining out. Snacks to pack could be granola bars, cut-up vegetables or fruit. Nuts are also good, but keep the portion size to a handful because they’re high-calorie.
The goal is to enjoy yourself and others while staying healthy along the way! And check out EatRight.org for more great nutrition tips and information.
Sarah Hartman is a registered dietitian at Memorial Regional Health.
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