Stay Healthy During Holidays

December 1, 2017

As you celebrate this holiday season and enjoy the company of family and friends, delicious delicacies are in abundance. How do you indulge without overdoing it?

Piper Tobler, a certified diabetes educator and a registered dietician at Middlesex Hospital, suggests that you survey your food options and make a plan when you arrive at celebrations. This will enable you to sample the food you enjoy without abandoning your healthy habits.

Make smart choices! This means choosing turkey and chicken breasts, plain potatoes and rice, tossed salad and steamed veggies, mineral water and fresh fruit more often and limiting beef, stuffing, eggnog and alcohol and rich desserts.

Piper knows food options can be overwhelming, and it is easy to overindulge, especially during the holiday season. You can beat the temptation in the following ways:

  • Don't arrive on an empty stomach. Eat something small before you arrive, such as yogurt, fruit, string cheese, vegetable sticks, or a handful of nuts.
  • Offer to bring a healthy dish to a holiday party.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol and snacks. Save your calories for your delicious meal!
  • Portion size is important. Small portion sizes allow you to control your calorie intake while still enjoying holiday treats.
  • Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is full.
  • Go for a walk, clear the table or do the dishes after you eat. It will keep you from continuing to eat after you are full. Bonus: you might even burn a few calories in the process.

While it is important to continue to eat healthy this holiday season, it is worth noting that enjoying treats in moderation once a year is OK. If you do overindulge, Tobler says not to get upset. Just make sure you eat a healthy next meal and include activity in your daily routine, she says.

Make exercising and healthier eating your New Year's resolution!

Make Your Favorite Holiday Beverage Healthier

Eggnog

  • Fill your glass with half- to three-quarter parts of low-fat or skim milk and just one part eggnog. You'll still enjoy the flavor without all of the calories!
  • Don't include alcohol.
  • Say no to the whipped cream.
  • Try a low-fat or non-dairy version.

Hot Chocolate

  • Make your hot chocolate with low-fat or skim milk.
  • If you need toppings, use mini marshmallows instead of the larger ones, low-fat whipped cream and consider other options, such as grated cinnamon or nutmeg.

Apple Cider

  • Check for added sugar content, which can increase your calorie intake and cause weight gain. Always opt for low-sugar or sugar-free options.
  • If you make your own cider, use unsweetened apple juice and a variety of spices, such as cinnamon sticks, whole cranberries and cloves.

Alcohol

  • Make non-alcoholic versions of your favorite cocktails.
  • If you are going to enjoy alcoholic drinks, have a glass of water between each beverage. This will make you feel more full.

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