The holidays are almost here, and with it comes an abundance of Christmas parties, office luncheons, family gatherings and other special events. These celebratory events aren’t always compatible with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and it can be easy to get caught up in the celebrations and lose track of our regular, balanced diet. But it doesn’t always have to be this way. Here are a few healthy habits to keep up during this holiday season:
Maintain a regular eating schedule.
While it may be tempting to skip a meal to “save up” on calories for a holiday party, doing so might lead to overeating later on and slower metabolisms over time. Sticking to a regular eating schedule will leave you feeling satisfied and energized throughout the day, while avoiding reaching for easily accessible junk foods later.
Manage portion size.
A good way to manage portions is to practice mindful eating. By truly savoring our food without any judgment or guilt. A good tip is to use smaller plates or reduce the number of servings consumed at each meal.
Drink in moderation.
Decide in advance how many drinks you plan to consume for the night (or week) to help monitor your drinking. Avoid as many excess calories as possible by using unsweetened flavored seltzer or club soda as mixers instead of sodas or syrups. Or choose to sip and enjoy one really high-quality drink rather than two or three low-quality ones.
Sit to eat.
Sit down to eat, chew slowly and take sips of water in between bites. This will allow your body to acknowledge when you’ve had enough to eat. The brain needs time to register that your stomach is full. When you begin to feel full, slow down and set a “to-go” plate aside for later.
Eat to enjoy.
One of the best parts of the holidays is enjoying special foods with friends and family. Take the time to appreciate your very favorite dishes, and skip the rest. At parties there are often lots of comfort foods on the menu with very little sustenance. Add to your plate a variety of foods that you may not get to enjoy at other times of the year.
Give yourself a break
We can't always eat 100 percent mindfully 100 percent of the time. Essentially, enjoy your most-loved festivities while being mindful of your food and drink choices. If you can manage to keep things relatively balanced and be aware that the choices you are making are mostly in line with your goals, then you can successfully navigate the holidays.