Eating Healthy for the Holidays: A Few Simple Tricks to Keep Your Waistline in Check

November 15, 2016

From the turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes at Thanksgiving to the delicious desserts, treats for Santa and eggnog at Christmas, the holidays are one of the hardest times of year to eat healthy. In fact, studies show that the average adult gains one to two pounds every year during Thanksgiving and Christmas. While this is a small increase, over the course of 10, 20 and 30 years, an individual’s weight gain could be as much as 60 pounds. 

At Providence Health, our mission is Making Communities Healthier by Extending Christ’s Healing Ministry, which is why we are pleased to offer these five tips to help everyone in the Midlands eat a little healthier this holiday season.

Drink lots of water. Often times thirst can be disguised as hunger and lead folks to eat when they may just need to hydrate. Carry a water bottle around with you and sip on it throughout the day. Aim for at least 64 ounces of water every day; those who exercise regularly should have a little more.

Avoid sugary drinks. Soft drinks, bottled tea, smoothies and fruit drinks, and, yes, the adult beverages, pack a whole lot of calories. On top of that, they are also often high in sugar, which can take a real toll on your waistline. For those who can’t kick the sugary habits completely, try switching to a diet version or limiting sugary drinks to one per day.

Forego the appetizers. Chips and dip, snack mix and cheese trays can quickly pile on calories. Instead of snacking before the main course, try sipping on water or seltzer with a squeeze of lemon or lime. It will boost your daily water intake and keep mindless munching to a minimum.

Watch your portions. Whether it’s the giant serving of mashed potatoes or a second-helping of sweet potato pie, portion size is key to maintaining a healthy weight. This can be especially challenging during the holidays. Prepare in advance by familiarizing yourself with proper portion sizes by sight. One portion of meat should be about the size of a deck of cards. Click here for more visual aids like this, as well as a printable list to keep on hand at parties.

Pick one – dessert that is. When it comes to the dessert tray, it’s easy to have a nibble of each treat. But with every bite, the calories and sugar pile up, causing your blood sugar levels to spike. So this holiday season, instead of trying one of everything on the dessert table, just pick one.

A healthy holiday is a happier one. So celebrate in ways that honor your health. It’s a wonderful gift you can give to yourself and your loved ones.