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Healthy Holiday Eating Tips From a Health Coach

Food is an exciting and wonderful part of the holiday season! So, how do you enjoy your favorite foods and still maintain your weight, blood sugar and blood pressure numbers? Below are some of my favorite healthy holiday eating tips: 

1. Do not skip meals 

A senior woman smiles as she eats a healthy snack

Instead, snack on healthy foods like broccoli, carrots or bell peppers with hummus, or apples with a nut butter before the main meal. This will prevent you from being hungry when it’s time to gather for the main meal and help you avoid overeating. And it’s important to have food in your system to fuel for the prep work you may be doing for your holiday meal.

 

2. Watch your portions 

A portioned plate of turkey, green beans, masked potatoes and cranberry sauce

Use a smaller plate to avoid overeating. Choose only your very favorite holiday foods, and avoid adding every dish to your plate. It can be tempting to try every dessert, so try to focus on your holiday favorites. Alternatively, you can also try a small portion of a few desserts. Keeping serving platters off the table makes it easier for you to eat mindfully because you’ll need to leave the table to get that second portion.

 

3. Try recipe substitution  

Healthy apple yogurt dip with crisps

Recipe substitution is an easy way to make your favorite dish healthier. Purchase a healthy holiday cookbook, find recipes in the paper or browse online for inspiration. Be sure to make one recipe modification in a recipe at a time. For example, this year, try substituting yogurt for sour cream in your holiday dips. Experiment with different substitutions to find the ideal balance of healthy and delicious.

 

4. Take your time 

A family talks as they enjoy a small holiday dinner

Savor those first wonderful few bites! Take your time eating so that your body can register its fullness level. Make sure you listen to your body’s physical cues so that you are eating only when you are full. Take the time to enjoy conversation with those around you while enjoying your holiday meal.

 

5. Fit in exercise

An older woman with a cane and her granddaughter out for a autumn walk while wearing masks

This can be hard to do during the holidays because our usual routine is thrown off.  Dance in the kitchen while preparing the food. Go for a walk with a friend or loved one after eating instead of sitting on the couch and watching TV. Or, find some time that morning to fit your regular exercise routine into your holiday schedule.

 

6. Avoid the “Last Supper” Mentality 

An empty dessert plate and fork

You will eat again! Make sure hunger is the reason you are eating. If you are too full for dessert, come back to it later or skip it all together. This can help prevent blood sugar surges.

 

A note for diabetics

A man is seen testing his blood sugar levels in his kitchen


Checking blood sugars is important. Knowing your blood sugar numbers will help you decide how much to eat and which foods you should avoid during the holiday season. Hypoglycemia is very common during this time. Some symptoms of Hypoglycemia include:

  • Frequent urination
  • Increased thirst
  • Blurred vision
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches

If these symptoms persist, and your typical treatment does not work, call a doctor immediately. Low blood sugar symptoms can be serious. 

By incorporating these healthy holiday eating tips you will be able to enjoy your favorite foods during this holiday season, yet still succeed at maintaining your weight and overall health. If you are looking for ways to safely celebrate the holidays this year, our guide to celebrating the holidays safely is a great resource. Bon Appétit and have a safe and wonderful holiday season!

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