Healthy Eating Tips to Help You Survive the Holidays

During the holidays, it’s easier than ever to surpass your typical calorie intake. It could be the holiday cookies your co-workers bring into the office, a slice of pecan pie, an extra serving of stuffing, or fast food you eat on the way to the mall for holiday shopping. The additional snacking adds up. One pound of fat is equal to 3,500 calories - that’s just 500 calories a day over a week.

“Be mindful of what you are eating and how much exercise you might be missing,” says Barbara Mintz, MS, RD, RWJBarnabas Health’s vice president of healthy living and community engagement. “Whether you’re burning less calories because you are exercising less or eating more because of the holiday parties, your calorie intake could be more than your output which adds up to extra pounds. Tis the season to be jolly shouldn’t have be the season of unhealthy eating behaviors or extra weight gain.”

Barbara Mintz offers these tips to help you survive the holidays while maintaining your healthy lifestyle:

  • Exercise – Don’t put your exercise on hold. Exercise will help you burn calories, relieve stress and elevate your mood. Activities as simple as walking for 10 to 20 minutes a day can make all the difference in your attempts to maintain a healthy weight through this stressful time of year.
  • Don’t skip meals. If you are hungry, you may make unhealthy choices. It is even harder when you are busy and on the run.
  • Don’t give up favorite foods or deprive yourself completely. Moderate consumption is the key. Sometimes just tasting a tempting dish is all you need to satisfy your craving. Remember it is a matter of quality…not quantity when you are looking for satisfaction.
  • If you know you will be attending a party, don’t starve yourself all day so you can eat more at night. You will be setting yourself up for overeating and usually feelings of failure.
  • Before you leave home, eat something light and drink a great deal of water the day of the party.
  • It is always a good idea to bring a healthy dish to your party. Veggie crudités with a low fat dip is always appreciated by your host and guests
  • Alcoholic beverages can add calories and impede your ability to burn fat when you are exercising - moderation is key.
  • If the holidays make you feel lonely or depressed don’t try and make yourself feel better with food. Listen to music, get a massage, manicure, pedicure, or facial. And don’t forget the power of exercise. It really is a mood enhancer.
  • If you are going to shop ‘til you drop, eat something healthy before you get to the mall. Food courts are never a good place to find healthy foods. Always bring a bottle of water with you, too. One of the signs of dehydration is hunger. You might just need to re-hydrate yourself.
  • Watch your portion sizes at holiday meals. A portion of meat should be about the size of a woman’s palm. Stuffing and potato dishes should be about the size of your fist. Try and cut back on second helpings at holiday meals as well. Eat slowly, eat veggies, salad, drink plenty of water and just enjoy the company at the table.