a-time-to-be-thankfulThe Thanksgiving holiday gives us an opportunity to be grateful for our families and friends, but the focus on food can lead to overeating. ConnectedHealth’s Rita Singer,RD, LDN, CLT shares valuable insights for smart nutrition during this uniquely American holiday.

How to Eat, Drink and Be Healthy During the Holidays

This time of year can be stressful, and it can be easy to get out of our normal routines and allow unhealthy habits to trickle back in.  Instead of focusing on the meaning of this time of year, we allow ourselves to get caught up in the hustle and bustle and tend to throw our normal eating habits out the window.  Food is a part of life and is meant to nourish us, not nurture.  So take some deep breaths and use some of the following tips to help you become more mindful of your eating habits through the holidays.

Rule #1 NO DIETING
  • Restricting your eating will only cause overeating and disappointment.
  • Starting a diet during the holidays may be setting yourself up for failure.
  • Often when we don’t succeed at a diet we blame ourselves instead of the other things that might prevent success such as or stress, or a family issue.
Plan Ahead
  • Planning ahead should be your first line of defense.
  • If you know you have a family dinner this week and another event next week, make sure on the remaining days you have well rounded healthy meals.
  • These meals you are in control of, when often times what is served at the holiday events are out of our control.
Avoid Temptations
  • Start with a smaller plate
  • Eat a snack before you leave home- if you are starving you will be more likely to overeat!
  • Once finished, wait 20 minutes. It takes 20 minutes to send the message from your stomach to your brain telling you you’re full
  • Make sure you eat your fruits and veggies- they have more fiber which can fill you up.
  • Avoid fruit juices, & drink in moderation -the calories can add up quickly. Eggnog, punch and other mixed beverages can have up to 500 calories!
  • Sip a large glass of water between each alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage to keep you hydrated
Dessert
  • Enjoy your favorite holiday treats but in small portions!
  • Plan out which dessert you will have ahead of time, pick only your favorite.
Healthy Substitutions
  • Use plain yogurt or cottage cheese for dips.
  • Add more veggies to stuffing and side dishes.
  • Cut fat by substituting some lower calories choices in a baking recipe like applesauce, bananas or pumpkin puree
  • The leanest meats are white meat, without the skin or meats that end in loin or round
  • Make or choose pies without a crust
  • Substitute black beans in brownies for flour!
Surviving the Holidays @ Work
  • Avoid the break room
  • Keep candy and other sweets and treats out of your office, and especially out of reach
  • Keep healthy snacks in your office
  • Pack your lunch
  • Drink plenty of water
Surviving the Holidays:  Staying Active
  • Take a physical activity break – set reminders!
  • Park your car farther away
  • Take the stairs
  • Wear a pedometer or activity tracker
  • Find a buddy to help hold each other accountable

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