From this week until the end of the year, it seems like delicious food is everywhere. Holiday events, cocktail parties and work get-togethers are loaded with rich appetizers and festive sweets, which can make staying on track with your healthy eating goals feel impossible. That’s one of the reasons that 72% of Americans plan to just enjoy themselves and not think about their diet until the New Year.
But it is possible to eat healthy during the holidays and these tips from registered dietitians can help you get started.
- Ditch the “all or nothing” mindset - Some folks see the holiday season as a free-for-all, where they eat anything and everything and don’t think about reeling it in until January, while others follow a strict diet that doesn’t allow any holiday exceptions. Both of these mindsets set you up for failure, according to nutrition experts, who recommend trying the 80/20 rule instead. It means opting for nutrient-dense foods 80% of the time and allowing yourself to eat what you want the other 20% of the time, for a happy balance.
- Make nourishment and real meals a priority - If you’re hungry, reaching for a Christmas cookie or some other holiday treat is tempting, but it’s not what you need. Try to make a point of eating three full meals with the protein, fat and complex carbs your body needs every day, and that will help support less nutrient-dense holiday eating you do.
- Honor family traditions - A lot of our holiday celebrations are centered around food and you don’t want to miss out on those, just make sure you’re considering your nutritional needs as well.
- Try not to label food “bad” or “junk” - There’s no need to feel guilty if you eat candy or pie, and it certainly doesn’t make you a bad person. Instead of thinking of food in terms of good or bad, focus on how you want it to taste and make you feel and allow yourself to enjoy the holiday treats you want, without the shame.
- How to deal with the party snack table - Remember moderation is key, so instead of filling up on snacks and appetizers, serve yourself some and then move away from the table. It’s easier to mindlessly eat if you’re standing right next to the food, so fix your plate and step away to eat it.