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by Noreen Gallo, R.D. 

The holidays are a special time of the year.  A time to enjoy family, friends and yes - food.  Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to enjoy the holidays and still maintain your healthy eating habits.

AIM TO MAINTAIN YOUR WEIGHT AND HEALTHY HABITS -  This is much more realistic and also avoids the all or nothing mentality of telling yourself you will get back on track January 1.  Healthy Habits can easily fit into the holiday lifestyle.

DON’T GO HUNGRY – Skipping meals to save calories for a dinner party almost never works.  It is hard to make sane food choices when you are super hungry.  Try starting your day with a high fiber, protein rich breakfast and be sure to have a snack before you head out the door.  Greek yogurt, cheese and crackers and veggies and hummus are great choices and will help squash hunger and decrease the chance of overdoing it at the party.

BECOME A FOOD SNOB – Don’t waste calories on foods you can have any time.  Save your splurges for special foods that only come around once a year.  Why waste your calories eating chips and dip when you only get Grandmas special pie at the holidays?

SURVEY THE SCENE – Survey the buffet table before you start piling things on your plate.  Decide what you want to have, serve yourself and WALK AWAY FROM THE TABLE.  Eating off a dessert plate is a great way to trick your mind into thinking you are eating more than you really are.

3 BITE RULE – Lets be honest, swearing off desserts is not a very realistic or fun way to approach a happy holiday.  The first couple of bites of a treat always taste the best, so try pushing the plate after the first 3 bites.

ADOPT THE WATER RULE – No, I am not saying you only drink water, that’s no fun!  Simply alternate a bottle of water for every caloric drink you consume.  So if you have a glass of wine, drink a bottle of water before you pour yourself a second glass.  THIS TRICK REALLY WORKS!

BE MINDFUL – All those BLT’S (bites, licks and tastes) while cooking really add up.  Try popping a stick of gum in your mouth while preparing food to avoid the constant munching that often occurs.

MOVE YOUR BODY – Sadly, exercise is often the first item crossed off our to-do list when life gets busy.  Fitting in even 30 minutes of exercise can help increase energy and decrease stress.

ENJOY YOURSELF – Take the focus off the food and enjoy your family and friends.  That is what the holidays are all about.  

Susan McInnis