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Party Plans for Healthy Holiday Eating

Turkey, gravy, pecan pie, it started last month. Holiday parties full of temptations. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the average American gains one to two pounds during the holiday season. Moreover, those couple of extra pounds “will stick and accumulate over the years”.

While the holiday season is not the time to lose weight, you can make it a goal to maintain it by eating healthier, choosing wisely and staying active without missing your favorite holiday dishes. Here are some tips that require a little planning and practice;

BEFORE THE PARTY:
– Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast.  If you wait to eat until the big feast, thinking you might spare some calories, think twice as this might result in overeating.
– Try to include high-fiber foods (like whole grain cereals, fresh fruits, and vegetables) and foods high in protein (like greek yogurt, nut butter) which will keep you full and satisfied for a longer time.

WHILE IN THE PARTY:
– Mingle around, don’t attack the buffet right away. Talking is calorie-free.
– Choose a smaller plate and fill, at least half of it, with veggies, salads or any veggie based meal.
– Practice portion control while choosing entrees and desserts, or any food that you really want to taste.
– Practice mindfulness in your eating. Savor every bite of it by eating slowly, in peace and paying attention with all your senses while enjoying it. Before going for seconds, ask yourself if you are really hungry and need a second helping.
– Use moderation while drinking, from alcohol to the favorite seasonal beverages (pumpkin spice lattes, eggnog) all are full of calories and could be a meal by itself. Don’t drink your calories. Water, fruit-infused sparkling water, and herbal teas are better, calorie-free options to hydrate.

AFTER THE PARTY:
– Be active! Take advantage of any excuse to be active: taking the stairs instead of the elevator, choosing a parking spot further away, taking the dog for a walk, biking with the family, registering for a race that will keep you motivated to train for it, etc…; as long as you are moving it will be useful.

Remember the true essence of the holidays is gathering with friends and family, and the food is a big part of all of it. Enjoy it and feel grateful for it!

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