As the holidays approach, everyone seems to get busier and busier. The last two months of the year usually fly by and, in January, people end up asking themselves where the time went. In addition to everything else going on in November and December, fitting in good food and quality time with the family seems even harder than usual. However, with intention and a plan, you can do it.
Below, dieticians share their tips to help you fit in healthy foods and quality family time this holiday season.
"Be present in your activities with both your family and friends," said Ann Dunnaway Teh, MS, RDN, LD. This one takes practice. At each event, take a few deep breaths and just focus on being present. Take a vivid mental picture of everything around you using all your senses. What do you see, hear, smell, taste, and feel? These mental snapshots can help you remember those precious holiday moments when, in January, you look back and think, "Where did November and December go?"
Make "no" your default answer. This can be hard to do. There are numerous events and invitations for parties and get-togethers that you feel you need to go to. How would you feel if you only say "yes" to the ones you really want to attend? You can never get back the time you spend at parties and events you don't enjoy, so why spend valuable resources on them?
Instead, say "yes" to yourself and your family by focusing on the events you truly enjoy. Darren Hardy says to tell people, "Thanks for thinking of me. Unfortunately, I can't attend right now. If that changes, I'll let you know." That allows you to say "no" in a nice way and gives you the option to attend later, if you decide you want to.
"Holiday food comes once a year, so take the time to chew and savor all the flavors, textures and smells of your favorite foods," says Lauren Fowler, RDN. "You'll be more satisfied with your food, and slowing down will help you listen to your fullness cues and stop before you're feeling stuffed and uncomfortable."
Jessica Cox, RD, counsels her clients to avoid all-or-nothing thinking. "Trying to avoid favorite holiday foods altogether will leave you feeling deprived," Cox says. "Allow yourself to enjoy the holidays, including your favorite seasonal foods, but take small portions. Balance heavy meals with better choices during other meals throughout the day, and consider increasing your activity during this time of the year to help compensate for extra calories."