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10 Tips for Eating Healthy Over the Holidays

Here at Access to Health, we realize eating healthy over the holidays can definitely be challenging. Holiday parties and family gatherings, coupled with shorter days and winter weather may disrupt our normal routines and lead to overindulging. But it’s possible to make wise food and drink choices and still enjoy all the festivities.

Here are 10 tips for eating healthy over the holidays.

1) Eat normal meals. If you plan on attending a party or showing up for a holiday meal, don’t skip eating all day prior to the event. It’s better to eat regular meals instead of saving up your calories for the feast. Chances are you’ll overeat.
2) Focus on Nutrient-Dense Foods. Try to focus on vegetables — think dark leafy greens, broccoli, beets, and cauliflower — along with protein when filling your plate, and avoid overdoing gravy and rich sauces.
3) Allow for Your Favorite Fare. You don’t have to forego your favorite holiday foods, such as your aunt’s amazing dressing or grandmother’s dinner rolls. Just try to keep portions reasonable.
4) Don’t Eat Until Your Stuffed. Try to gauge how full you are while eating. Slow down when dining and stop when you feel full — not uncomfortably stuffed.
5) Take a Walk or Hike. After a holiday meal, take a family walk instead of watching T.V. (or napping). Or incorporate a new tradition and try a family hike before gathering for the feast.
6) Enjoy Socializing. Try not to stand next to the buffet table and overindulge at those holiday parties. Mingle, meet new people and enjoy socializing instead.
7) Drink Ample Amounts of Water. Stay hydrated — especially if you’re drinking alcohol. Water can also curb overeating and temper cravings for sugar or other less healthy foods.
8) Monitor Your Beverage Intake. If you drink alcohol, try to do so in moderation and don’t fill up on high-calorie choices like eggnog. Even if you don’t drink alcohol, try to avoid sugary punches or similar beverages. Opt for non-caloric drinks like seltzer.
9) Keep Your Exercise Routine. As much as possible, try to keep to your regular exercise schedule. If necessary, incorporate other types of activities. For example, if you can’t make it to the gym after work, go for a nice walk during lunch.
10) Let Go of Guilt. Self-recriminations if you overindulge aren’t helpful. Just try to get back on track before your next holiday event. And do something you enjoy like attend a yoga class or go for a run.
The Access to Health Team wishes you a healthy and happy holiday season!

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