Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

By Ann Lindemann, Senior Health Writer

Did you know that the typical adult gains between five and eight pounds in the short interval between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? It’s true! For many people, this signals a time for giving up on healthy eating practices.

Susan B. Roberts, PhD, of Tufts University, explains it this way: “Faced with a six-week, never-ending onslaught of fattening foods, you know you can’t win, so you resign yourself in advance and then let yourself go!” But you don’t have to let yourself go. Whether you are concerned about your weight or simply your healthy well being, there are smart strategies that can help.
Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

  1. Skipping Sense – Most holiday feasts offer plenty of options that you can take or leave. If you have never enjoyed candied yams, then don’t put them on your plate “By not looking at, smelling and especially tasting even a single bite of the mundane items,” Roberts says, “you avoid revving up metabolic hunger signals unnecessarily and can save hundreds of calories.”
  2. Nibbling Nos-Nos – For many folks it’s not the occasional holiday feast that piles on the pounds, but rather the day-to-day temptations. Cookies and candy litter the workplace and yummy leftovers scream your name. Sure, one Christmas cookie isn’t going to cause irreparable damage. But how do you keep it at just one? Roberts says to never eat a treat alone and try to accompany it with a low calorie food.
  3. Control Your Food Environment – Many studies have shown that proximity of food determines how much you eat. So, don’t stand by the appetizer table at that holiday cocktail party and at seated dinners keep the high-calorie foods moving down the table away from you.
  4. Get Back In Control ASAP – Don’t wait until January to gain back control. The metabolic effects of feasts can make you hungry for one more big meal after another. “The key here, in my clinical experience, is to recover satiety first,” Roberts says. “Put yourself on a high-fiber regimen the very next morning. With some good satiety under your belt, you are ready to start eating healthy stuff again.”

By Ann Lindemann, Senior Health Writer