Holiday Nutrition Survival Guide

Take control of your nutrition during the holidays.

Written by Coach Joe Villegas

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The holidays bring together family & friends, delicious foods and beverages, and great memories. But it’s easy to get carried away and overindulge. Here’s how you can stay in control during the holiday season while still enjoying the time with loved ones.

1). Practice Mindful Eating

Celebrating the holidays with family and friends doesn’t mean you need to deprive yourself of traditional foods. Practicing behaviors like eating slowly, checking in with yourself to see if you’re getting full, taking breaths between bites, enjoying conversation between courses, and practicing mindful eating are all habits that don’t require preparation on your end but can help prevent you from overindulging.

2). Stay Hydrated

Make sure that you continue to hydrate with water or other healthy zero-calorie beverages. Sometimes we mistake hunger for thirst, but staying hydrated can control our appetite and will fill our stomachs without the additional calories.

3). Protein & Veggies First

When you begin to plate your food, start by loading up on veggies and protein. Filling up on those first will help prevent you from bringing on calorically dense foods like stuffing or other starchy carbohydrates.

4). Allow Yourself Some Dessert

It’s the holidays, after all, so allow yourself one piece of dessert and don’t go back for seconds. If you can’t pick just one, allow yourself two small half pieces of dessert, and then don’t go back for seconds. If you eat your dessert slowly and savor it, you won’t feel the need to overindulge.

5). Plan Ahead

Whether you’re hosting or bringing a dish to the party, plan ahead to make or bring some healthier options so that you and your guests have the opportunity to make better choices. You may not be able to control the entire meal, but you can control the food you make or bring with you.

6). Don’t Panic

If you’ve been really diligent all week in making better, healthier choices, you can keep the streak going! Don’t try to be perfect at the holidays. Just aim to make the best choices you can with the options you’re given. Remember, the holidays are only a small portion of the year. Take the time to remember what is really important. Appreciate the time with loved ones and don’t let food dominate the experience.

Food brings people together and whether you are hosting or bringing something to share, you can control what you make.

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