Healthier Plate

10 Tips for a Healthy Holiday Season

Dec 19, 2014

By Kyle Rose, RD, LD

The holidays are a time to celebrate with family, friends, and food. Unfortunately, it is also a time when many people gain weight. We want you to enjoy the holiday season, but in moderation. To help you get through the holidays without gaining weight, we have come up with the following tips to ensure a healthy holiday season:

Protein First. When filling your plate at meals, select protein to fill the largest area of your plate and choose a spoonful of your favorite items to round out your meal.

Be Careful with Alcohol. Alcohol goes down easily, but it is also full of calories. If you have had weight loss surgery, you are likely to feel the effects of alcohol much quicker than you might have before bariatric surgery.

Take a Healthy Dish. When attending parties or dinners, offer to bring a healthy, high-protein dish so you know that at least one thing will be offered that you can eat.

Make Room for Exercise.
 Give yourself time to exercise throughout the day, even if it is just 10 minutes here or there. Not only will exercise help you keep the pounds off during the holidays, it is also a great way to relieve the stress that often comes with holidays. Get your loved ones moving to; plan a walk with family or friends before or after holiday meals.

Chew, Chew, Chew. Chewing each bite 20-30 times will help you slow down and eat less at holiday events.

Don’t Go Hungry.
 Skipping breakfast and lunch just to “make room” for that big dinner you’re planning is a recipe for disaster. You’re more likely to overeat if you are hungry when the holiday party begins. Before attending a party, make sure to eat a high protein breakfast and lunch so you are not as tempted to overeat.

Be realistic. Give yourself freedom to enjoy the holidays, rather than strictly limiting yourself. Losing weight during the holiday season isn’t realistic for most people. Instead, focus on maintaining your current weight and not losing weight during the holidays.

Get social. 
Focus on socializing with family and friends instead of the food offered.

Hydrate! Drink plenty of calorie-free fluids. Many times thirst is mistaken for hunger. Aim for 64 ounces of fluid daily. Water is ideal, rather than consuming too many “empty calories” through calorie-packed drinks like soda and alcohol. Water can also help reduce your cravings for unhealthy foods that are high in sugar, calories, and fat.

Listen to your body. 
Learn to recognize when you are truly hungry, and when you have had enough. If you have recently had weight loss surgery, you should stop eating as soon as you feel full. Overeating can make anyone feel miserable, but it can be truly painful if you’ve recently had weight loss surgery, such as the gastric sleeve.

Arm yourself with these tips, and you will have a healthier, guilt-free holiday season.