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Liz’s 5 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

The holidays are a time for celebrations, visiting with friends and family, and food! One of the most beloved things about this time of year is the holiday treats, holiday parties, and special meals that we only indulge in one time each year. But a small weight gain of 2-3 pounds can eventually turn into 20 if we do not lose the weight in the following year. Instead of focusing on what you have to do to get rid of the excess weight, make healthy choices this year to put you ahead of the game. Check out these 5 tips to help you to “maintain and not gain”.

  1. Take 10 Before Taking Seconds.

It takes a few minutes for your stomach’s “I’m getting full” signal to get to your brain. After finishing your first helping, take a 10-minute break. Make conversation. Drink some water. Then recheck your appetite. You might realize you are full or want only a small portion of seconds.

  1. Don’t Go Out With An Empty Tank

Before setting out for a party, eat something so you don’t arrive famished. Excellent pre-party snacks combine complex carbohydrates with protein and unsaturated fats, like apple slices with peanut butter or a slice of turkey and cheese on whole-wheat pita bread.

  1. Be Buffet Savvy

At a buffet, wander ‘round the food table before putting anything on your plate. By checking out all of your options, you might be less inclined to pile on items one after another.

  1. Distance Helps The Heart Stay Healthy.

At a party, don’t stand next to the food table. That makes it harder to mindlessly reach for food as you talk. If you know you are prone to recreational eating, pop a mint or stick of gum so you won’t keep reaching for the chips.

  1. Pay Attention To What Really Matters

Although food is an integral part of the holidays, put the focus on family and friends, laughter, and cheer. If balance and moderation are your usual guides, it’s okay to indulge or overeat once in a while.

For more information about Nutrition Services at the UNC Wellness Centers, contact Liz Watt, RD, CSOWM, LDN at 984-974-2552 or email at Elizabeth.watt@unchealth.unc.edu

Adapted from health.harvard.edu