Diet & Nutrition
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10 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

When it comes to the holidays, we look forward to celebrating with family and friends, giving and getting gifts, and…eating some indulgent food. Any nutritionist will tell you that an occasional treat is just fine, but too much can derail weight-management efforts. And the holidays are an especially high-risk time for that happening, Here, from Allie Wergin, a registered dietitian nutritionist at Mayo Clinic Health System, shares ten strategies for a healthier holiday:

Stay on your meal schedule. According to Wergin, bypassing a meal in order to “save” calories before a holiday gathering can actually backfire and lead to overeating, simply because you’ve become very hungry. Instead, she suggests a snack that will fill you up. String cheese, a yogurt or a small amount of nuts are some good choices.

Bring a healthy dish to a potluck.

Pick your indulgences carefully. Wergin says it’s good to focus on holiday favorites rather than food you can have at any other time of the year.

Make your plate colorful. Pick red, green, yellow vegetables and fill up half your plate with them, Wergin says.

Be smart about drinks. Wergin suggests focusing on calorie-free drinks like water, tea or seltzer. Alcoholic drinks are “empty” calories and can lead you to make poor food choices. If you want to have an alcoholic drink, Wergin says, do so in moderation and intersperse each drink with a glass of water.

Focus on socializing. You can get just as much enjoyment. Wergin says it’s a good idea to move away from the buffet table while you’re talking with other guests.

Just say no to people who try to make you eat more.

Savor what you eat. Be sure to eat slowly and really taste your food.

Satisfy yourself. Don’t stuff yourself. Wergin recommends checking your “fullness levels” while you’re eating. Eating enough but not too much will help you avoid that logy feeling, stuffed feeling.

Don’t give in to guilt. Wergin says that even if you did eat too much, don’t beat yourself up. Make up for it with a healthy meal, and include exercise in your routine.

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