The holiday season is in full swing and that means your schedule is probably full of holiday parties and dinners from now through the end of the year. Whether you’re a guest or the host you no doubt want to enjoy delicious food and specialties of the holiday season, but you likely also want to maintain your commitment to eating healthfully. Here are some great ways to do so.
On the day of a party, stick to your regular routine.
Don’t eliminate meals to save up for what’s to come, which can lead to overeating when you get to the party. Instead, start your day with a balanced breakfast, enjoy a light lunch like a salad with grilled chicken, and if many hours go by between lunch and the party have a small snack to hold you over. If exercise is a normal part of your day, make sure you leave yourself time to get it in – burning a few extra calories will leave you feeling good for some extra indulgences!
Socialize, then eat.
No need to rush to the buffet as soon as your coat is checked. Instead, mingle with old friends and meet some new ones.
Check out all the options before you fill your plate.
As you head to the buffet, take into account any passed hors d’oeuvres you may have already had. Keep in mind your plate should be balanced between fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and carbohydrates, with an emphasis on whole grain carbs if they’re available.
Calories from alcoholic and sweetened drinks add up, so be sure to stay hydrated with plenty of no- and low-calorie beverages and enjoy a glass of wine, cocktail, or even a cup of eggnog in moderation.
If you’re a guest, bring your favorite lightened-up holiday recipe.
The holidays are usually filled with many sweet treats, some of which are special for this time of year. Choose a few of your favorites that you don’t have the rest of the year and enjoy and savor them. Some desserts to try: Cranberry Apple Pie, Chocolate Pear Bread, and Coconut Rum Balls.
What are you looking forward to serving or eating at this season’s holiday parties?
Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RDN, CDN is a registered dietitian nutritionist and the founder of Nutritioulicious, a nutrition consulting business in the New York area. She is an experienced nutrition writer, author and speaker and consults for food and beverage companies, including the Calorie Control Council, California Strawberry Commission, Fresh Express, Metamucil, and the Corn Refiners Association, though the ideas expressed are her own. She is also a contributing writer for Today’s Dietitian Magazine. Jessica is an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) and various Dietetic Practice Groups of the AND, including Nutrition Entrepreneurs, Food and Culinary Professionals, and Dietitians in Business and Communications. Follow her out on Twitter @jlevinsonRD and check out her blog Nutritioulicious.