Eating well during the holidays can be challenging for anyone, especially those trying to follow a special diet to lose weight or manage a chronic condition like diabetes. Here are some tips to keep you eating well, and prevent weight gain that could lead to self-recrimination when the new year rolls around.
Don’t Go Hungry!
Eat sensibly early in the day before an event or party to help you stay satisfied and avoid overeating less healthy foods. Try to plan ahead, and be more aware of what you’ll be eating and when, which will allow you to enjoy a few holiday favorites while sticking to your healthy meal plan.
Budget Calories Wisely
Take inventory of all your food choices. Examine the foods offered, including the buffet table and those passed as appetizers, so that you can budget calories wisely. If offered, pick up a smaller plate. If you don’t have a choice of plate size, then try to think of an invisible border on your plate fitting all of your portions within that border.
As you fill your plate with food, that border will be defined by the food. Choose larger servings of lower calorie, high-fiber foods like fresh vegetables, legumes, and lean proteins. Limit the servings of starchy vegetables (such as potatoes, corn and peas), fatty foods, sugary desserts, and other heavy holiday favorites, which include foods with honey glazes and gravy, and casseroles with butter, sour cream, cheese, and mayonnaise.
Avoid Drinking Your Calories
Choose non-caloric beverages such as water, seltzer, or sparkling water, unsweetened tea, or diet drinks. If you choose alcohol, limit the amount to recommended servings (no more than 1 serving per day for women and 2 servings per day for men), and remember to eat when you drink.
Exercise is a great way to burn calories and lower your blood sugar. Include a fun physical activity at your next family function, such as a game of tag, Frisbee, or a walk. If including an activity is challenging, exercise before a holiday meal.
Enjoy a Taste of Holiday Sweets
Balance is everything. If you know that your favorite pie will be served after dinner, then forego a high-calorie, high-carbohydrate side dish, such as bread or sweet potatoes, at the main meal. Share a dessert with a friend to keep portion sizes small. Offer to bring a dessert that fits in with your meal plan, such as fresh fruit, baked apples, or a healthier version of a holiday favorite. Keep these tips in mind and you’ll start the new year off right.
Balance is everything. If you know that your favorite treat will be served after dinner, then forego a high-calorie, high-carbohydrate side dish.
Source: Kinga Pluta, MD, Diabetes Center, Cooley Dickinson Medical Group