Holidays are a wonderful opportunity to see family and friends that you might not otherwise see during the year. But what is a holiday without rich and tantalizing foods? To arrive into the New Year with only positive memories of the holiday season, here are a few nutrition tips to guide you:
1. Be “choosy” with your choices: The holidays are a great time because it is often your one chance during the year to have Aunt Sue’s famous pumpkin pie, grandma’s stuffing, or cousin Vinnie’s bacon-wrapped scallops. My advice? Eat them! But choose those options over other foods you are able to eat any old time of year. Be “choosy” – eat what you don’t always get!
2. Be mindful: Once you decide what food(s) you are going to eat during that special holiday meal or event, find somewhere to sit down and truly ENJOY what you have selected. Don’t be in a hurry to eat – take your time and converse with family or friends as you eat. Food should be enjoyed slowly, thoughtfully, and with intention. As you are eating, take note of your hunger and satiety levels – always stop when you are comfortably full or even sooner if your craving is sufficiently satisfied.
3. Eat a sufficient meal before evening holiday outings: If you are heading to an evening holiday party serving only appetizers or desserts, be sure to eat
a well-rounded meal before leaving the house. This will provide your body with energy to help you more easily make good eating choices at the event. It is easier to make smart choices when you are not ravenously hungry.
4. Mingle away from the food table: To take the focus of your party away from the food, mingle with family or friends away from the food table. Position yourself in a completely separate room or with your back to the food table. This will help you to think less about the food because you can’t see it.
5. Make sleep a priority: Studies show that inadequate sleep signals a hormone in your body that increases the drive to eat and makes it more difficult for your brain to gravitate toward healthy options. Help your body by getting at least 7-9 hours of sleep each night on average.
6. Enjoy what truly matters: Keep in mind that what truly matters during the
holidays is not the food, but the time spent with family and friends. By focusing on the enjoyment derived from people and not food, the holidays will be much less stressful for you and making healthy choices will happen naturally.
Katie Davis MS, RD, CSSD, LDN is a board-certified specialist in sports nutrition and owner of RDKate Sports Nutrition, based out of Naperville. She helps ordinary athletes becomes extraordinary competitors using food to improve sport performance. She specializes in sports nutrition and the treatment of eating disorders and disordered eating. Visit her website for more information: www.RDKate.com