The holidays are full of fun, friends and family and of course, food. Many individuals who want to stick to their nutritional goals may look at the holidays and think of all of the foods they’ll need to avoid. But the truth is, you can actually enjoy your holiday meals and still meet your nutrition and fitness goals.
Dr. Lauren Vice, Seton family medicine specialist, offers advice to help you practice the fine art of eating well during food-heavy holidays:
- Don’t say no; just go small and slow. Outlawing certain foods contributes to an unhealthy relationship with food and can lead to binge eating and strong feelings of guilt. If a particular food is your favorite—and especially if you only get to experience at this time of year—enjoy it. Be mindful of portion size, try not to overindulge, and slow down your eating pace. A few bites to savor your favorite dish is more satisfying than total avoidance and a guilty conscience.
- Balance your meals and remember 50-25-25. Proteins, carbohydrates and fats are macronutrients, and your body needs all three. To function normally and in good health, our bodies require these energy-yielding nutrients in large amounts and well-balanced proportions. Ideally, your meals should consist of 50 percent vegetables, 25 percent carbohydrates like whole grains, and 25 percent lean protein—like turkey and chicken—and healthy fats which can help you feel full. No matter what size the plate, if you’re filling half of it with fruits and vegetables, that is going to be a lower-calorie, more nutritious option.
- Boost the nutritional value of your holiday favorites. There are endless ways to tweak traditional holiday recipes that will help to pack more vitamins and nutrients into some of your favorites. The American Heart Association offers recipes and tips for heart healthy eating during the holidays.
- Remember: Food is fuel for movement—even if you overeat. On days when you eat more than normal, find creative ways to move around more – whether it involves cleaning around the house, playing games outside, taking the stairs, walking or working out.
Ascension Seton is part of Ascension, the largest nonprofit health system in the U.S. and the largest Catholic health system in the worl