Eating heathly during the holiday season

Leenika Belfield-Martin | Lifestyle Editor

There are two things that fill the holiday season: gifts and food.

How ironic is it that days after people stuff themselves like turkeys, they hit the gym for their New Year’s Resolution? Why wait until after the holiday season to be more conscious about our meals?

The average person gains a little over one pound around the holidays, according to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine. While this might seem like a small amount, researchers in that same study also pointed out that people are also less likely to lose this weight after the holidays.

Here are some tips on how to avoid this extra weight during this time.

Don’t skip breakfast

For most people, breakfast does not exist on Thanksgiving Day. They instead wait for the main course of the day to dive in. Skipping meals, regardless of the occasion or day, can lead to overeating. This is because when you hold off on eating, then you have a larger appetite when it’s finally mealtime. A larger appetite then leads to piles of food on your plate, which is not ideal.

People who do eat breakfast have the tendency to make better eating choices throughout the day, according to research by Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab.

You don’t have to eat a large, sitcom-family-style breakfast, but instead try something packed with fiber.

Even if it’s something as simple as some buttered toast, it can make a big difference later in the day.

Leave some leftovers

The buffet, all-you-can-eat style of holiday meals can cause people to go a tad overboard. The rule of thumb is to wait 10 minutes after finishing your first meal before going in for a second serving. During this time, you might actually realize that you may not be able to finish that second helping of macaroni and cheese. Think of it this way: The less you eat on Thanksgiving Day or for Christmas Dinner, the more leftovers you’ll have for the new year!

Vary your veggies

Holiday meals tend to be packed with sodium, fats and starches. From the mashed potatoes and gravy to turkey and ham, the holiday kitchen table is packed with all different delectables. However, something is typically missing from the spotlight: vegetables! This year don’t skip the salad. If anything, try to grab as much non-starch vegetables as possible.

If your family typically avoids vegetable dishes at events, start a new tradition by bringing a vegetable dish this year. Some easy suggestions are sautéed Brussel sprouts, steamed carrots and cauliflower, or even a roasted sweet potato and squash soup. The possibilities are endless. Just be careful with adding extra ingredients such as cheeses and dressings.

It’s fine to indulge during Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Just remember that the typical health rules still apply when it comes to the holidays. Challenge yourself this holiday season, and maybe the good habits you create can help you with your New Year’s resolutions!

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