Healthy Eating: Happy, Healthy Holiday Eating
Allison Marshall, MS RD CDN CDE
Start Your Day Right
Having a healthy, satisfying breakfast helps you load up on fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which can prevent you from being ravenous and losing control at your holiday meal later in the day. Try a combination of protein and high-fiber carbohydrates, such as eggs or egg whites and whole wheat toast, a whole-grain English muffin with natural peanut or almond butter, low-fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit, or Greek-style yogurt with chopped walnuts.
Load up on Fruits and Veggies First
Before you reach for the mini-quiches and pigs in a blanket, try to load up on a plate full of fresh cut fruit and vegetables. They will fill you up with fiber and antioxidants, and leave you less likely to overindulge on the less healthy options.
Reach for the Lean Protein
When eyeing the buffet table, steer for the protein sources that are lower in saturated fat, such as slices of roasted turkey, shrimp cocktail, salmon, chicken breast, and pork loin.
Be a "Healthy" Guest
While it may be tempting to bring a heaping cookie platter to a friend's party, opt for a healthier dish. Offer to bring crudités with low-fat ranch dressing, fresh berries with whipped cream, a heaping bowl of mixed greens with chopped veggies, or hummus with whole-wheat pita chips. Then, set a great example for other guests by choosing your own nutritious creations.
Watch the Alcohol
Too much alcohol can add a lot of extra calories and impair your judgment, which can lead to overeating. Try to choose drinks that are lower in sugar, such as a small glass of red or white wine, a wine spritzer, a light beer, or a small shot of vodka mixed with a large glass of seltzer and fresh lemon or lime. Try to avoid high-calorie beverages that are mixed with juice or sugary soda, have some food in your stomach before you drink, and remember to drink plenty of water throughout the party to re-hydrate.
Take a Walk
Going for a walk with family or friends before or after a meal is a fun way to burn calories and may even help to suppress your appetite, which prevents you from overeating. Cold and snowy outside? Bundle up and have a snowball fight or stay in by the fire and play one of our all time favorite childhood games, Twister!