Healthy Holiday Eating

Holiday eating has been shown to contribute to cumulative weight gain over the years. Here are some ways to reduce your caloric intake, but still enjoy your holiday feast!

1. Avoid skipping meals. Skipping meals to “save calories” is rarely successful. Skipping meals can slow down metabolism and increase cortisol levels, both of which can lead to overeating and weight gain. Take a time out for two healthy snacks if an entire meal is not an option. Yogurt with granola or whole wheat crackers with low fat cheese are two good options.

2. Portion control is the key. Over restricting food choices typically leads to failure for many people. Include favorite foods, but do so in moderation. Portion control takes practice as we have become accustomed to eating portions that are much larger than necessary. Leaving food on your plate is not a bad thing!

3. Eat slowly. Eating slowly can help you eat less. Activation of gut stretch receptors and release of satiety producing hormones take a minimum of 20 minutes to signal satiety (feeling of fullness) to the brain. Heading for a second helping before this time can lead to overconsumption and that dreadful full sluggish sensation.

4. Eat lower calorie foods such as vegetables. These foods tend to be nutrient dense and higher in fiber which increases satiety.

5. Avoid unnecessary calories. Only choose foods that you love. Wasting calories on foods because they are available is counterproductive.

6. Dessert-a tough one. Everyone loves dessert. Instead of eating the entire piece of cake or pie, eat only half. If you wish to sample several different desserts, try the “3 bite” rule essentially eating only three bites of several desserts. When preparing pies, skip the top crust to reduce calories and opt for fresh or frozen fruit with no added sugar over canned fruit options. Fresh Cranberry sauce is a sweet option that provides numerous nutrition benefits . See recipe below.

7. Incorporate physical activity. A post meal walk or activity can aid with digestion,  burn excess calories and provide a much needed boost of energy.

8. Most importantly enjoy your Thanksgiving, savor the small joys in life and stay safe!

Healthy Holiday Eating tips provided by Kathryn Noah, Registered Nutritionist and Dietitian at RMC Health Systems.