12 Healthy Eating Tips for the Holidays

During the busy holiday season many of the healthy practices we keep all year fall by the wayside. In effort to help you keep off the added weight that usually comes around this time of year, here are 12 tips from Dr. Caroline Cederquist, author of The MDFactor Diet and founder of bistroMD, to help you keep this holiday healthy.

1. Drink water. Drinking lots of water not only flushes toxins from your system, but it also fills you up. Often times the body misinterprets thirst for hunger. Carrying a bottle of water with you not only will help reduce the urge to eat but it will also fill you up faster.

2. Holiday drinks. Alcohol has a lot of calories, as does eggnog, punch, and soft drinks, therefore try to limit these. If you are a soda drinker try to incorporate seltzer and maybe mix it with a little bit of juice. If you must have egg nog try to limit yourself to one and if making it yourself, try using non-fat milk.

3. If you’re hosting a holiday party, provide healthy snacks. Serve salsa with wholegrain, trans-fat-free chips or pita wedges. Offer guacamole with fresh vegetables.

4. Eat smaller portions of food. This is especially important at a buffet, where you may want to try everything. Choose the items you want to try the most, and eat a small portion of each. 

5. Holiday hors-d'oeuvres. You don’t have to pass up the cheese tray, just be smart about your choices. In addition to portion control, harder cheeses tend to be lower in fat than softer cheeses and opt for a whole-wheat or multi-grain cracker instead of one made with refined grain.

6. Slow it down. You’ll enjoy your meals better if you eat slowly. Also eat less, because your stomach and brain will have time to realize it is “full.”

7. Fill your diet with fruits and vegetables. The bulk of your meal should consist of fruits and vegetables.

8. Holidays and the fast food trap. The holiday season can keep you on the go with little time to prepare meals. Fast food may be handy, but often is high in fat and calories. Prepare and freeze quick, healthy meals ahead of time to stay out of the fast-food trap.

9. Holiday staples and stuffing. Cook stuffing outside of the turkey because it’ll have fewer calories and will be healthier than the traditionally prepared stuffing. Also, when preparing stuffing try to incorporate more vegetables and less bread.

10. Don’t deprive yourself. Depriving one’s self of certain foods often leads to binge eating so if you want something eat it, just eat smaller portions and make the healthiest choice.

11. Holiday deserts and your sweet tooth. If you are someone who loves their holiday pies you are not out of luck, just make smarter choices. Apple pie is probably better than other holiday favorites because it contains fruit and less sugar and calories than other rich desserts. Pumpkin pie is also a healthier choice than cookies and cakes. Fruit salad makes a delicious desert too.

12. Holiday treats and the healthier option. If part of your holiday tradition involves baking cookies, make them with vegetable oil in place of solid fats or shortening. Add some whole grains or wheat germ, raisins, and nuts. Also, make the cookies mini-size. Use a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon for drop cookies and cut bar cookies into bite-size pieces. You can offer more varieties and you won’t have to bake nearly as many.

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