Put your good health and wellbeing at the “top of your list” and follow these healthy holiday eating tips from Dr. Nitya Sharma, director of Westmed’s Weight Management Team, and Allison Holzer, RD, Westmed nutritionist, who is also a certified diabetes educator*.
You don’t have to give up your healthy habits to enjoy the holidays. With a little thought and a pinch of good strategy, you can enjoy delicious meals without overeating and indulging in foods that are high in fat and calories. And, you’ll feel so much better when the holidays are over!
Please follow these easy steps from Dr. Sharma to help you stay on a healthy holiday track this season:
-Plan out your meal(s) in advance when attending a social gathering dining out or hosting.
-Offer to bring a healthy side or vegetable if you are going to someone else’s home for the holiday meal.
-Fill your first plate with lean protein and vegetables. When you’re no longer hungry, take a spoonful of any other dish you would like to try. This will help you avoid overeating high fat, high carb sides, but will also not leave you feeling deprived.
-Do not skip meals earlier in the day. Showing up very hungry to the holiday meal will almost guarantee overeating– both hors d’oeuvres and the meal. Instead, eat 1-2 high protein meals throughout the day leading up to the holiday dinner.
-Avoid hors d’oeuvres and appetizers. They tend to be high-calorie, high-fat and high-carb choices, and don’t typically satisfy hunger.
-Use a salad plate to keep your portions small.
-Limit your intake of alcohol to 1-2 servings. Choose lower glycemic options like vodka and club soda with a twist of citrus or gin and diet tonic.
For people with diabetes, Allie Holzer has additional tips for preparing for a big holiday meal:
- Eat breakfast or snacks earlier in the day. If you skip meals to save carbs for the “big feast,” it may be harder to manage your blood sugar.
- Limit the number of starchy foods on your plate. Take a few spoonfuls or bites of each at most if you’re really tempted.
- Choose fruit and veggies served raw, grilled or steamed, not creamed.
- Stick to calorie-free drinks, such as seltzer, diet sodas, not punch or mixed drinks.
- If you choose to have a drink with alcohol, limit the amount and have it with food. Speak with your healthcare team in advance to learn whether alcohol is safe for you.
- Enjoy your favorite holiday treats, but take small portions, eat slowly and savor the taste and texture.
- After your meal, take a walk with family and friends. Exercise is a great way to lower blood sugar levels.
Please check out some of our holiday recipes.