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Toy train of food, ham, potatoes, and egg nog.

How to Stay On Track with Healthy Eating During the Holidays

If you find that your healthy eating habits go out the window during the holidays, you are not alone. This busy season throws a wrench in your routine and holiday parties seem to happen back-to-back. Here are some tips to try this holiday season!

Stick to a healthy holiday routine

Try your best to stick to a healthy routine with activity and healthy eating. This will help you to generally feel better. When we are eating junk and not moving our bodies, we tend to have less energy and therefore, feel more stressed. While this routine is helpful, it’s okay and actually beneficial to have some flexibility during the season, especially considering all of the extra demands.

Loosen up on your goals, slightly

Flexibility is key for enjoying the season and not falling prey to all-or-nothing patterns. When we try to be too perfect with our eating/activity, especially during this busy time of year, it can sometimes do more harm than good by creating more stress. This stress can often lead to feelings of failure when you inevitably fall short of perfection, which may result in throwing in the towel altogether.

Plan ahead for holiday events

When attending holiday events, try not to arrive at a holiday event on an empty stomach. And never skip meals to “save up” for a big meal at a gathering. When providing food for an event, offer to bring a healthy choice, one you know you can feel good about. Plan ahead for food pushers and prepare some ways you may respond.

How to eat healthy during holiday events

At potluck type events it’s easy to start at one end and take a little of each option. Before you know it, your plate is full and you’ve begun to load it vertically!

Apply the “stoplight method”

I like to use the “stoplight method.” Survey the spread and identify each item as “red,” “yellow” and “green” foods. Green foods are those that are a clear healthy choice and you can fill up on (i.e. salads, veggies, lean meats). Yellow foods are those that you have to be cautious about, such as starchy items (i.e. mashed potatoes). Red light options are those you need to steer clear of (i.e. desserts, soda). Please note, these categories are up to you. For example, sweets can fall in either the red or yellow category. Of course, sweets are never off-limits completely, but be mindful portion.

Take a seat

Fix a plate and sit down to eat it. Standing while eating, makes you more vulnerable to mindless and distracted eating. Making a point to use a plate for all items you eat helps you avoid grazing a food table.

Enjoy the company

Spend more time talking to people than eating. This is especially helpful if you are vulnerable to mindless eating at parties. Plus, that’s the reason we get together, to begin with!

Be cautious of the drinks

Beware of beverages. Eggnog, ciders, and alcohol are part of the tradition for many. But remember that these take a toll on blood sugar and they add up quickly.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.