What comes to mind when you think of the holidays? If your answer is food, you’re not alone. Many holiday gatherings are spent enjoying a family meal around the dinner table or at a friend’s party indulging in a spread of tasty treats. It’s all too easy to set aside healthy eating habits until the New Year. But if you’re looking for tips on how to eat healthy during the holiday season, we can provide you with a few helpful hints to avoid overindulging.
Healthy Eating During the Holidays is Easier Said Than Done
When the holiday season rolls around, the baking begins. Food is a hallmark of the holidays, from bowls of candy to trays of cookies. For anyone who is trying to practice healthy eating habits, the temptation to overindulge can be overwhelming. At every holiday gathering you attend, there is bound to be an abundance of snacks to choose from, making overeating all too easy.
It’s even easier to feel as though the holidays are a free pass to eat as you’d like, casting aside your better judgment when it comes to eating responsibly. There is nothing wrong with indulging during the holidays, but you have to be aware of how often you are making exceptions.
Eating can also be tied to emotions, especially around the holidays. Many individuals seek comfort from food, often when dealing with stress. Other people may find that a certain dish stirs up feelings of nostalgia and reminds them of a cherished memory. Food can trigger chemical responses in the brain, so there is a scientific explanation for the connection.
5 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating
As you age, it becomes increasingly important to maintain a balanced diet, which is why practicing these healthy eating habits during the holidays is essential to your health.
Don’t Skip Meals
You may have tried skipping meals in an effort to “save calories,” but doing so does more harm than good. When you skip a meal ahead of a holiday party, you’re arriving on an empty stomach. Making yourself so hungry only increases your chances of overeating, and you’re not likely to make the smartest food choices. You’re better off eating a healthy snack to hold you over. Nuts, fruit and yogurt are perfect examples of snacks that can help keep your appetite in check.
One of the challenges of eating around the holidays is the abundance of delicious options. It’s okay to want to try it all, but remember to do so in moderation. Rather than loading up your plate on the first helping, try taking a small sampling of everything you want to try. That way you can at least get a taste of everything without putting more than you can handle on your plate.
Try Intuitive Eating
If you’re unfamiliar with the term “intuitive eating,” it essentially means listening to your body about which food choices make you feel full or satisfied. Trust your body, in other words. If you know a certain dish isn’t going to sit well with you, avoid it. Furthermore, when your body starts to tell you that it’s full, believe it. At a minimum, give yourself a 10-15 minute break when you’re feeling full. The feeling may pass or you may get confirmation that a second helping is not the best idea.
Bring a Healthy Dish
Balance can be difficult at a holiday potluck. Not every attendee has a balanced meal in mind when deciding what dish to contribute. But you can take matters into your own hands and be the partygoer who brings a healthy option to the table. A fresh salad or vegetable tray is an effective safety net against the rich and heavy dishes generally associated with the holidays.
Don’t Forget to Exercise
The choices you make before and after you eat are as important as the choices you make at the dinner table. It’s not easy to maintain your routines during the busy holiday season, but exercising regularly is essential to maintaining balance. You don’t have to make a daily trip to the gym, but a walk with friends and family or a 30-minute workout in the morning can make a world of difference. Exercise boosts your metabolism and can even lead to a better night’s sleep, among other health benefits that may make your holidays more pleasant and relaxing.
How Newcastle Place Promotes Healthy Eating
At Newcastle Place, we believe that living well means eating well. Our dining options are a reflection of that belief, offering a diverse menu of chef-prepared meals that are as healthy as they are delicious. We also make great effort to accommodate the dietary needs of our residents, with gluten-free breads, sugar-free desserts and vegetarian selections available.
We know our community life is special, and our dedicated team can help show you all the reasons why. If Newcastle Place sounds like a good fit for you or a loved one, just complete the form below or call us at 262-387-8800 at your convenience to learn more.