The holiday season is quickly approaching. Making the right decisions about healthy eating may become increasingly more difficult. While families gather to celebrate and spend time together, there will be plenty of food. Choosing the right foods is important in enjoying the season without putting on extra pounds. Here are some simple ways you and your family can eat healthy:

• Get plenty of rest before the party. Experts recommend getting at least seven hours of sleep daily. Studies have found that adults ate about an extra 300 calories and tended to choose higher-fat, higher-calorie foods when they were not well rested.

• Bring a healthy dish. This will ensure that there is at least one healthy choice at your gathering.

• Plan before you eat. Check out all food options on arrival and develop a plan that will allow you to sample foods while keeping previously developed good eating habits.

• Don’t arrive on an empty stomach. Don’t skip breakfast or lunch. Eat small healthy portions during those meals.

• Choose your appetizers wisely. Research suggests that most people consume larger amounts of the foods they eat first. Start with a low calorie appetizer. Try fresh vegetables with hummus instead of chips and creamy dip.

• Choose healthier options. Pick foods like turkey or chicken breast, plain potatoes or rice, salad, steamed vegetables, or fresh fruit. Try to limit higher calorie foods such as beef, pie, cake, stuffing, gravy, bread pudding, eggnog, or candy.

• Focus on people, not the food. Spend time socializing, making new acquaintances, and reminiscing with old friends.

• Don’t drink your calories. Limit seasonal drinks that may have a lot of added sugar and alcohol.

• Select small portions. Use smaller appetizer plates instead of dinner plates.

• Eat slowly. Take smaller bites and chew slowly.

• Drink plenty of water.

• Leave the table when you are done. Offer to help with the dishes, clear the table or take a walk.

• Use the buddy system. By splitting a dessert with someone, you can cut the calories and fat in half and avoid being wasteful.

• Plan time for exercise. Exercise helps relieve holiday stress and prevent weight gain. Try 10-15 minute brisk walks twice a day.

Happy Holidays! Enjoy your time with friends and family and be safe!


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