Healthy Holiday Eating: Plan your approach to food this season
By Luisa Siniscalchi
As the holidays approach, it can be extremely difficult to stick to a healthy diet plan. Parties and celebrations make it easy to over-eat and can cause anxiety for many people. This year, take an approach that focuses on your health. Eat well and be well this holiday season with the following simple strategies.
Include vegetables at every meal and celebration. Non-starchy vegetables are nutrient-dense, low in calories, and delicious! Some holiday favorites include green bean almondine, roasted carrots, pan-seared asparagus, or sautéed spinach and garlic. Use the MyPlate guidelines to help balance your meal: fill half your plate with non-starchy vegetables, a quarter of your plate with healthy protein, and a quarter of your plate with grains or starchy vegetables.
Enjoy in moderation. Portion size matters. Take smaller portions and put less on your plate than you normally would. You don’t have to deprive yourself but pay close attention to portion sizes and try to eat less dessert and high-calorie foods. While eating pay attention to your hunger and satiety levels. Eat until you are satisfied but stop before you become full. Eat slowly and savor every bite!
Be in charge of what you eat. You are not obligated to eat unhealthy foods just because they are offered to you. It is okay to politely say no. Don’t be pressured into eating foods you don’t want. Plan ahead and be prepared to say: “No thank you.” At gatherings, offer to contribute a healthy appetizer or side. A healthy dish is often welcomed by many.
Remember to be active. Don’t let the cold weather slow you down, be physically active every day. Try participating in winter sports, schedule a walk or workout before gatherings.
Luisa Siniscalchi is the nutritionist at North End Waterfront Health (NEWH).