Holiday gatherings typically revolve around food. When you are trying to make healthy choices, potlucks and holiday meals may seem daunting. You don’t have to deprive yourself of your favorite treats this holiday season.
“The trick during the holidays is choosing which foods you want to invest in,” NARMC Clinical Dietitian Lynetta Smith, MS, RD, LD, said. “Be sure to choose food that you actually enjoy.”
Family gatherings, work parties and potlucks are filled with various food options, but you don’t have to eat it all. If you choose what you actually enjoy and eat in moderation, you can still maintain a healthy diet.
For Smith, it is all about having a positive relationship with food. If you deprive yourself of your favorite kind of dessert, then if you give in, you begin to feel ashamed and guilty. Neither of those emotions are healthy. You also don’t want to starve yourself in anticipation for that big holiday meal. Instead, munch on foods throughout the day. Then, you can actually enjoy what you are eating and choose smaller portions instead of scarfing down everything on your plate.
You can also cut down on your portion size by choosing a smaller plate. It is normal to want to fill up your plate when you have several options in front of you. A smaller plate will enable you to choose smaller portions.
If you are the person in the kitchen, you can help cut down on portion sizes by preparing and cutting up the food in smaller portions. This also allows more people to enjoy the dish.
If you find that most of your holiday meals lack fruits or vegetables, volunteer to bring those dishes. You can make sure that healthy options are available for yourself and loved ones to enjoy.
You can also use your hand or other everyday items to determine healthy portions.
Smith reminds us to not miss out on the types of food that we enjoy.
“Choose foods that taste good to maximize enjoyment,” Smith added.
Enjoy your holiday gatherings! Happy holidays from the NARMC team.