Posted on December 7th, 2016 by Speare Memorial Hospital
Health Tips for the Holiday Season
Health tips for the holiday season from Jean Baker and Janette Gaumer, Registered Dietitians and the Nutrition and Wellness Experts at Speare Memorial Hospital.
- Eat like a kid. Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re not.
- Don’t be a people pleaser. You decide what foods are worth eating and which you can ignore. Why waste calories—and carbs—on food that you do not enjoy?
- Try not to drink your calories. Try flavored sparking water if you are trying to away from high-calorie beverages like eggnog or mixed drinks.
- When you are hosting. Make sure there are low calorie and carb nibbles around. Bring them with you if eating at someone else’s house. Veggies and dip are obvious choices; you might also try seasoned popcorn, mixed nuts, or even better –nuts in the shell.
- Don’t hang out near the food. Find a comfortable spot across the room, and focus on people instead of eating.
- Say “NO” to the leftovers. It can be difficult to refuse food as people head out the door, so tell everyone now to bring food only for one meal and to be prepared to take the leftovers home with them.
Plan ahead. Most of us plan our holiday celebrations around food, but don’t let questions about what to eat, how much to eat, and meal timing dampen your holiday. Plan in advance, so you can fully enjoy the day.
- Think about the timing of your meal. Many families eat large meals at odd times on holidays, when dinner may be served in the middle of the afternoon. Plan in advance for how you will handle making changes if your meal does not line up with your regular meal schedule.
Be physically active! The best way to compensate for eating a little more than usual is to be active. Start a new tradition that involves moving around away from the food. Start by taking a walk with the whole family or playing Frisbee, soccer, or touch football with your children, grandchildren, or the neighborhood kids.
- Have foods to nibble on while you are cooking or waiting to eat. Bring a platter of raw or blanched veggies with your favorite low-calorie dip or have a few small pieces of low-fat cheese. Don’t indulge on high-calorie or fried appetizers.
- Make selective food choices! Many traditional Holiday foods are high in carbohydrates: mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, stuffing, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, and other desserts. Don’t feel like you have to sample everything on the table.
- Portions do count! Have a reasonable portion of your favorites and pass on the rest. For example, if stuffing is your favorite, pass on rolls. Choose either sweet potatoes or mashed potatoes. If you really want to try everything, make your portions smaller.
- Eat smaller portions. Because high carbohydrate foods are plentiful at many parties, watch your portion sizes. If you can’t decide on one or two carbohydrate foods to eat, take very small portions or “samples” of several dishes.
- Eat your vegetables. Unfortunately, the vegetable selection on holiday menus is usually limited. We all want to dress up the table with tempting treats. Why not add some colorful vegetable dishes? Veggies come in all colors and are very nutritious. Offer to bring a green salad or a side of steamed veggies that have been seasoned. Non-starchy veggies are low in carbs and calories. They will help fill you up and keep you from overeating other high-calorie and high-fat foods on the table.
- Exercise early in the day. If you know you are going to a gathering later in the day. Don’t wait, start your day off with a walk or even more. This way you are on your way to a good start.
- Grab a small plate. Grab a sandwich plate or dessert plate instead of using the large plates and you will not be able to load up your plate with as many calories.
- Don’t Skip Meals. Skipping meals prior to going to a gather may not be the best choice. If you eat healthy prior to your party, you will make better decisions. If you go without eating and wait, you may not make the best decisions.
Jean Baker and Janette Gaumer are both Registered Dietitians and are a wealth of knowledge. They are here to assist you in making healthy choices whether you are pre-diabetic, diabetic, overweight, have gluten intolerance or just want to learn how to eat healthy for life. Your visits can be covered by your health insurance with a doctor’s referral. Please call 603-238-2244 or 603-238-6472 to schedule an appointment.
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