Healthy Eating During the Holidays

By Megan Morrow
Published December 13, 2018

From those last few pieces of Halloween candy to the big Thanksgiving feast to all of those holiday parties (and cookies) in December, it is no wonder people struggle with weight gain this time of year. While we only gain about a pound-and-one-half on average, we often struggle to lose it and may start out the year feeling frustrated.

If you are looking to flip your unhealthy eating patterns around this time of the year, you can do so without having to eat perfectly. Focus on what you are eating, and the amount of your activity, as this can make a big difference in your energy level and motivation moving into 2019.

Consider these five helpful hints for healthier holiday eating:

  1. Aim for 80/20. Expecting perfection when it comes to diet is simply unrealistic. If you can eat well about 80-percent of the time, consider that a good thing and give yourself permission to enjoy the occasional indulgence.
  2. Fill up with veggies. Even buffets featuring sumptuous desserts and platters of cheesy scalloped potatoes typically offer a vegetable platter. If you can fill half of your plate with vegetables, you will satisfy many of your daily requirements for vitamins and minerals. Fill up with fiber so you can enjoy whatever else you put on your plate.
  3. Do not go hungry. While it can be tempting to skip meals before a party or a busy day, or to rush to the grocery store before dinner, these strategies can backfire. When you are famished, your brain craves food immediately and can lead you to make less-than-healthy choices. Before your next party, enjoy a few apple slices with almond butter, or a slice of turkey and cheese, to set yourself up for success.
  4. Remove temptation. If you know that you cannot take just one handful of peanut brittle, take one piece and give the rest away. The harder it is to access the Chex mix, fudge or whatever it is you cannot resist, the less likely you are to overdo it. As much as possible, remove the biggest food temptations from your home and office.
  5. Be mindful about what you eat. Even if you are engaged in conversation while eating, do your best to focus on what you are eating, including the flavors and textures, how much you are enjoying it and how full you are. When we pay closer attention at mealtime, we tend to stop eating when we are full and derive more pleasure from out meals.

Naturally, the more you can move during the holiday season, the better. Research shows that small bursts of activity can be just as effective as longer sessions. If you cannot make the gym, walk the stairs for 10 minutes at lunch, park at the end of the parking lot, and do three sets of squats, planks and push-ups before you go to bed. Not only does exercise burn calories, but it provides energy, releases feel-good hormones and makes you feel better.

Finally, let go of the guilt as you remember the meaning of the season. Focus on connections and conversations, and give yourself a break when needed. While it feels good to eat healthy throughout the year, beating yourself up when you have a bad day rarely helps. Be as compassionate to yourself as you would to others and do your best to enjoy the holiday season with a balanced approach.

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The material presented here is for information purposes only and is not to be considered an offer to buy or sell any security. This report was prepared from sources believed to be reliable but it is not guaranteed as to accuracy and it is not a complete summary of statement of all available data. Information and opinions are current up to the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. The purchase and sale of securities should be conducted on an individual basis considering the risk tolerance and investment objective of each investor and with the advice and counsel of a professional advisor. The opinions expressed by Ms. Morrow are strictly her own and do not necessarily reflect those of Herbert J. Sims & Co., Inc. or their affiliates. This is not a solicitation to buy or an offer to sell any particular investment. All investment involves risk and may result in a loss of principal. Investors should carefully consider their own circumstances before making any investment decision.

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