The holidays can be an incredibly special time for so many of us – but they can also be a little stressful. Holiday-related stress can cause us to overeat, sabotage a “healthy diet,” and even succumb to peer pressure related to eating food. As a Registered Dietitian, here are my best tips to enjoy the holiday season in a happy and healthy way.
Eat Balanced Meals and Hydrate!
Before indulging in holiday festivities, make sure to hydrate! Drinking water will help you pay closer attention to your hunger cues and prevent overeating. Similarly, continue eating balanced meals throughout the day instead of waiting or “saving up” for one big meal later on. Remember that the holidays are not a reason to restrict. My best advice is to choose options that emphasize whole foods when possible and eat processed foods in moderation.
It’s Okay to Say No
Sometimes we feel the pressure from our families to eat certain foods or even take extra servings when we’re already full. Well here’s a piece of advice: It’s okay to say no! You are allowed to deny food if you are full or rather not eat or drink something. Simply decline the food and move on! What goes into your body is entirely up to you.
Paying attention to portions and proper serving sizes can be tricky. Keep in mind that you don’t need to pile up your plate with all the goods. Instead, take a smaller serving of each dish you’d like to try. This way you won’t be uncomfortably full or end up with a stomach ache. You can always get more or have leftovers the next day!
Be Mindful and Enjoy!
Throughout the holiday season, there will be so many opportunities to eat indulgent and delicious foods. While I don’t encourage restrictive behaviors, I think it’s so important to listen to your body rather than indulging in food just because it’s there. At the end of the day, eating our favorite holiday foods is an act of nostalgia and enjoyment. Rid the guilt and allow yourself to eat foods that aren’t necessarily the most nutrient-dense, but instead, provide happiness. Nourishing our mental health is just as important, and sometimes even more so, than having the perfect diet. So eat those sugar cookies, drink that hot chocolate, and have a happy holiday season!