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5 strategies for eating healthy this holiday season

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With the holidays just around the corner and the stream of party invitations beginning to roll in, it’s helpful to go into the season with a clear strategy to battle the various temptations at the dinner table. 

Some of the most common concerns over holiday meals are portion control and the temptation of overly indulgent foods. And with plenty of snacking that goes on between meals, it’s easy to overeat without even knowing. 

And as simple as making healthy choices sound, a 2021 survey revealed that two-thirds of Americans chose to indulge and made the decision to put off kickstarting a healthy routine until the new year. 

As much as 23 per cent of people make living healthier their New Year’s resolution, and a further 20 per cent kick start the year with a commitment to lose weight. Yet many fail to understand that maintaining a healthy diet is a year-round commitment. 

Here, we look at five tips on eating healthy this holiday season without compromising your favourite holiday treats.

#Portion control
#Wait before you go for seconds
#Go for veggies first
#Avoid store-bought foods
#Keep drinks to a minimum

Portion control

One of the oldest tricks in the book, reaching for a smaller dinner place, is a tried and true way to manage portion size. Having a little bit of everything in moderation, be it the juicy turkey or the delectable, sugary puddings, ensures you’ll be able to satisfy holiday cravings without going overboard.

Studies have shown that it takes about 20 minutes after eating for the feeling of fullness to hit the brain. Eating slowly can help your brain catch up with your stomach and consume fewer calories. 

So instead of reaching for that second helping of turkey and stuffing right after you clean off your plate, get up and walk around the table or spend a few minutes chatting with family and friends. Chances are, you’ll find yourself satisfied and won’t need more. 

Because your stomach fills up faster than your brain can process, it’s a good idea to start your meal off with lots of vegetables to create a baseline for your hunger. Go for a round of salad and roast vegetables before reaching for the more calorie-dense items like roast beef or stuffing. 

With the massive amount of work that goes into preparing a holiday meal, it’s easy to understand why hosts will often cheat with a few ready-made items. Store-bought items like stuff or pies are often highly processed and loaded with sugar and fats. If you choose to partake in a slice of pie from the local grocery store or bakery, make sure you do so in moderation. And whenever an option is available, go for the homemade item instead. 

Keep drinks to a minimum

Soft drinks, wines, beers, cocktails and holiday drinks like mulled wine are packed with sugar and calories. It’s wise to keep alcohol consumption in moderation at the dinner table. 

However, a glass of water before dinner can, to similar effects as eating vegetables before mains, help facilitate a feeling of fullness and lower calorie intake.

Also see: Is gelatin a cheap alternative to collagen supplements? 

Credit: sportingnews.com

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