By Lynn Lanza, Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at Paper Cranes Healthcare
Can you believe the holiday’s are coming so fast? The holidays are a GREAT time for family togetherness and creating lasting memories! Be sure to make the memories the only thing that lasts and not additional pounds from holiday overeating!
- Practice Mindful Eating: Mindful Eating is a practice in which we pay close attention to how food makes us feel physically and encourages us to eat for physical hunger rather than emotional needs. Mindful Eating encourages one to focus on how good our food tastes and to try an eliminate distractions while eating. Research tells us that Mindful Eating practice helps us to control portions of food which can help control weight while also increasing enjoyment of eating! So when you pull up to your holiday table this year, be intentional about listening to your belly while also appreciating your taste buds!
- Bring the veggies: Many of our favorite yummy holidays foods also happen to be extremely rich and calorie dense, which is why we often fall into a severe food coma after our holiday meal. A great way to prevent yourself from overeating is to fill half of your holiday plate with non-starchy vegetables- think green beans, salad, Brussels sprouts, carrots or maybe broccoli. While these yummy foods are nutritional powerhouses, they are very low in calories which helps you to balance out some of the juicier foods on your plate. Many of my patients often think Healthy=Boring… this is furthest from the truth! Add flavor enhancers such as fresh garlic to your green beans, balsamic vinegar to your roasted Brussels sprouts or avocado to your salad. Olive oil in moderation is always a great, flavorful additional as well!
- Develop some non-food family traditions this year: Often so much of the holiday is focused around food- from the grand meal to cookie decorations to holiday parties with an endless number of appetizers and treats! This year, consider inviting your family out for a Thanksgiving day football game or walk. Maybe start a tradition of Christmas eve game night. Find joy in non-food forms of family bonding to help prevent overindulgence this year.
- Keep moving: The ultimate goal is to get through this holiday season without slipping into that food coma from overeating, however because of the overabundance of food in our culture, overeating is unfortunately quite commonplace. The good news is, according to new research, at least 2½ hours of aerobic exercise spread over 6 days can help prevent negative metabolic outcomes often associated with overeating, such as inflammation of fat tissue and glucose intolerance or insulin resistance. So the moral of the story is, KEEP MOVING especially during the holiday break!