Healthy holiday habits: Eat what you love

"The journey of a healthy lifestyle is learning about how to deal with the ups and downs along the way."

habits: blur of people at a dinner party in a dining room

The holidays are a great time to get together with family and friends over meals, but a temporary change in diet doesn’t have to derail the good eating habits you practice the rest of the year.

Tiffany Krogstad, a heart dietitian with Sanford Health, offers some helpful tips for maintaining healthy habits during the holidays:

Eat healthy before you go.

Eat a mini meal before you leave your house. Balancing some protein, vegetables, a little fat and a little starch will help you feel satisfied. Protein and healthy fats will help keep your blood sugars stabilized and prevent you from having your blood sugar crash, which is when those sugar cravings are increased.

Savor small bites.

Follow the two-bite rule. I love sampling and tasting all the dishes at an event. Put two small bites of the dish on your plate and only fill one plate. “Eat what you love, and leave what you like.”

Continue to prioritize exercise your habit.

The season gets busy! However, making one excuse could lead to making another down the road. To combat this, try planning your workouts into your schedule. Writing them down will keep you accountable.

One meal won’t “make” or “break” your health.

But two months of overindulging will. What you eat on a regular basis will keep you healthy or gradually contribute to weight gain. As a general rule of thumb, focus on healthy eating most of the time. View every meal as an opportunity to get back on track. The journey of a healthy lifestyle is learning about how to deal with the ups and downs along the way. No one has a perfect diet.

When possible, bring a healthy dish to share.

You can count on family and friends to bring sweets and other savory dishes. Try stepping out of your comfort zone and bring a healthier option to the table.

Don’t keep junk food in the house.

If you overindulge at a party, that’s one thing. Daily overindulgence is another. Think ahead and plan for success. Free yourself of the temptation by not keeping junk food at home. It’s a holiday not a holi-week.

Say no.

If your body is telling you you’ve had enough, listen! It’s OK to say no; your body will thank you for it later.

Calorie considerations

It can be hard to think about calories when you have a piece of pumpkin pie staring you in the face. But, in addition to following these tips for healthy holiday eating, being mindful of how many calories that pie or festive drink has will help you make smarter decisions.

Pie (per slice)

  • Pecan: 443 calories, 23 grams of fat
  • Pumpkin: 330 calories, 12 grams of fat
  • Apple: 320 calories, 15 grams of fat

Beverages (per 8 ounces)

  • Egg nog: 340 calories, 19 grams of fat
  • Hot chocolate: 180 calories, 7 grams of fat

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Posted In Health Information, Healthy Living, Heart

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