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How to balance healthy holiday eating with diet

 Prepare the oven: Holiday cooking is all on us. Autumn and winter are packed with holidays and arguably the most wonderful time of the year. Whether it's because you need to spend time with your loved one or eat your favorite holiday foods like pumpkin, cranberry, and mint. You can also enjoy the change of weather, the opportunity to take a vacation from work and start planning to and attend meetings and special events.

A common concern during this time of year is eating healthy. It is often said that the average Americans gain 10 pounds each year during the holidays, but several studies have shown that this is wrong and that the amount is slightly lower. However, most of the holiday food options are not usually what we would classify as nutritious, but certainly delicious and associated with fond memories.

Eating healthy during the holidays doesn't mean giving up on your favorite dishes - it just means making a few simple changes and additions to your dishes and lifestyle during this time of year. Instead of focusing on weight, focus on three things: friends, family, and food. Holidays are the time you spend with your loved ones, enjoy good times and good meals. This article will show you how to be more comfortable with upcoming matches and spend the season as stress-free as possible.

Serving size vs. serving size

One of the biggest culprits in making healthy eating difficult are meal size and size. In recent years, American dishes have grown and with them, portion sizes have increased. A serving size is the recommended amount you should eat - for example, what the label of a packaged food says, such as 1 cup of cereal.

Serving size, by contrast, is how much you put on your plate. Listening to your hunger cues about how much you should eat is the best way to find what works best for you. Smaller plates and utensils may also be recommended. The larger the plate, the more food you put in it.

10 tips for healthy holiday eating

When looking to make changes to your health, start small and build on each goal. If you know there's a problem adding vegetables to your plate at meals or if you know you love holiday drinks, make your number one goal one you know you struggle with. Once you have achieved the first goal, you can continue to add more and continue this pattern until you are satisfied with your progress.

Here are some holiday eating tips you can practice without sacrificing the food you love.

1. You have to check and evaluate the options

Most holiday events have endless food choices, so before you put anything on your plate you should check the options first and see what catches your eye. You just have to pick up the options you really want. Limit refills unless you are still hungry. If you want to get more out of something, take it and go.

2. Add fruits and vegetables to your plate first.

Fruit and vegetables should make up half of your plate. That's because they are high in nutritional content and help create a balanced dish, especially when more fun foods are added.

3. Don't skip meals

Even if you're planning a bigger meal at some point, it's important not to skip meals. Skipping meals leads to feelings of extreme hunger, which in turn leads to feelings of extreme fullness. An easy way to remember is skip → starve → full.

4. Eat slower during meal times

Several studies have shown that eating more slowly during meals allows your stomach to send signals of fullness and avoid overeating. We all know the infamous fullness after Thanksgiving dinner. This tip is a great way to avoid the need to take a nap or unbutton your pants.

5. Listen to your hunger alerts

You just have to eat until you feel full. Using a hunger scale from 1 to 10 can help you determine how full you are. Use 1 as intense hunger - your stomach is rumbling and you need food. 10 indicates that you are beyond full and feel uncomfortable. Ideally, you'll want to be between 5-7 on the satiety scale after meals.

6. Try not to shop while hungry

Some studies suggest that shopping while hungry can lead to you buying foods you didn't plan to buy before you left your home. If you're shopping for holiday foods, grab a snack or regular meal before you go.

7. Don't forget to exercise

Studies have shown that doing some physical activity after meals helps stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin and promote digestion. Activity ideas might include going for a walk, or playing games outside with friends and family, such as friends' throwing ball games.

8. Eat before leaving the house

If you're not sure what options will be available at your holiday pool, grab something before you head out. You can have something light at home and have snacks and other things while you are there. If allowed with the host, she may be able to help plan which food options will be served.

9. Bring a healthy plate

This is a lovely gift for the host but also ensures that you will have at least one option that you know you love. Having a plate rich in vegetables can help balance your plate.

10. Support your gut

Despite your best efforts, you can still overeat — you're just human, right? Supplements with probiotics and digestive enzymes can help keep your gut in balance, even when you're enjoying a second helping.

Again, if you feel overwhelmed by these tips, you should identify your two most important goals to work on and focus on them specifically. Nutrition is a constantly progressing business and not all habits can be changed overnight. You have to keep your goal in mind and keep working towards it. If you need more help, you can seek it from a certified dietitian to help you reach your goals.

 How to improve holiday classics

Holiday foods are usually worse than everyday foods. Don't feel like you have to let go of old favorites. There are ways to modify recipes to make them more nutritious, including:

Make mashed potatoes with low-sodium vegetable broth instead of using a lot of milk and butter.

Use yogurt instead of sour cream on dishes.

You should prepare a lot of grilled vegetables as a side dish.

Avoid full-fat dairy products while cooking and use coconut milk instead.

Use a heart-healthy oil like olive oil instead of butter, lard, or margarine.

Have one of the amazing desserts and serve fresh fruit in place of a variety of sweets.

Make your favorite mix in place of chips, candy, and other snacks.

Choose vegetable proteins instead of meat for the main course.

Drink alcohol in moderation.

Try using half the amount of sugar called for in the recipes or use natural sweeteners - they will usually taste sweet too.


From Halloween to New Year's Day, you may experience some hiccups when it comes to eating healthy. Holiday eating can cause stress and uncertainty, but you can use the tips in this article to help make this time of year great. Remember not to put the holidays together for weeks instead of enjoying them on time. You have to practice self-care and forgiveness for yourself, too. There is no need to defeat yourself, but a need to defeat what you eat. No matter how you plan to spend your holidays, you need to make sure that your health is the priority.

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