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10 Holiday Eating Tips

The holiday season primarily revolves around enjoying wonderful meals with family, friends, and loved ones. Many of us have a favourite dish that we look forward to each and every year. It could be sweet potatoes with marshmallows, turkey swimming in gravy, or all the sweets and desserts. Unfortunately, one thing is very common, with the excess consumption of these foods, holiday eating often leads to gaining unwanted weight. So, we have rounded up some holiday eating tips to help get you prepared.

Here are 10 eating tips to consider this holiday from the nutrition and weight loss experts at Herbal Magic:

  1. Make Wise Turkey Choices
    Turkey is a great lean protein choice, provided you choose white cuts of meat (breast) and remove the skin. The fat is found in both skin and fatty deposits in dark meat (e.g. leg/thighs/wings). In making this choice, your turkey is now a much leaner and healthier addition to your big meal.
  2. Eat Regularly During the Day
    Be sure to have regular meals and snacks, as you would on any other day. It is important to avoid sitting down at the dinner table feeling ravenous. Depriving yourself all day can result in overeating at the meal, leading you to consume more calories than expected and to experience a very upset stomach! In addition, if your body is not used to fasting, by skipping meals you can put your body into “starvation mode,” which will cause it to hang onto fat, inhibiting your weight loss efforts. However, if you’re used to fasting, then your body understands its food cycles allowing it to prepare for the period of eating, ensuring it does not enter starvation mode. But as mentioned before, treat your food intake during the holiday period as you would any other day. 
  3. Use Caution with Alcohol
    Alcohol intake can hurt your waistline in two ways. Not only do calories in alcohol quickly add up, but alcohol can lower your inhibitions, causing you to overeat. We recommend having one or two glasses of your drink of choice during the meal. Then try having tea or infused water post-meal. 
  4. Watch Out for the Extras
    A turkey dinner can be a healthy choice, but the extras offered prior to or during the meal can change that. Extras can include gravy, bread rolls, cranberry sauce, and herbed butter. To ensure you enjoy your meal in a healthy way, pick one extra that you feel would accompany your meal best and allot it accordingly.
  5. Fill Your Plate with Vegetables
    Aim to fill half your plate full of vegetables before filling the rest with turkey and other dishes. Filling up on vegetables is not only a great way of getting extra fibre and vitamins, but it will also help you feel full and avoid unhealthier choices. We recommend focusing on vegetables seasoned with herbs and spices instead of butter or salt!
  6. Offer to Bring a Dish
    If you are not hosting dinner, offer to bring a healthy dish. Bringing a Herbal Magic program-friendly dish will guarantee that you have at least one food option that will keep you on track. Check out our recipes for some great ideas.
  7. Be Mindful of Seconds
    Savour the meal you have just put on your plate and eat slowly. Putting your utensils down between bites will force you to eat slower, making you less inclined to go back for seconds. If you are still hungry, wait for 20-minutes before reaching for a second helping to allow your body enough time to register if it’s satisfied or not.
  8. Politely Say “No"
    At some point, you will be encouraged to try a new dish or eat more. It might be difficult to say no, but be firm in your request. Perhaps explain to the gathering that you wish to eat healthily this holiday and that certain food items will have to be tasted at another time or brought home as leftovers. 
  9. Listen to Your Body
    Your body will give you cues when it’s full, so stop eating when you begin to have those feelings. This will allow your body to feel satisfied without overeating. Which will, in turn, allow you to enjoy your evening rather than feeling stuffed and ill. 
  10. Enjoy the Gathering
    Make the gathering more focused on spending time with one another rather than eating. Instead of worrying about when dessert will be ready, enjoy the conversations at the table or help clean up. Find fun things to do together that do not focus primarily on eating, such as playing a board game or going for a walk together. For some fun family bonding activities, here are 15 Holiday Family Games Adults & Kids Will Love!

Here's a sample Herbal Magic-approved holiday meal menu (with serving values from the Herbal Magic weight loss program):

5 oz. Chicken or turkey or
4 oz roast beef
1 Protein
1 cup* Cauliflower au gratin 1 Veg, 1 Fat
*or 1 cup Plain cooked cauliflower or vegetable of choice 1 Veg
1 Dinner roll or ½ cup mashed potatoes 1 Starch
4 Tbsp Light Gravy 1 Fat
1 Gingerbread cookie 1 Free Exchange

 

When you put these 10 eating tips into practice, the holidays won't interfere with your weight loss progress. Go into the season with a plan and stick to it. You will feel great that you did! 

For more holiday eating tips, check out these articles:

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