Maintaining a Healthy Food Relationship over the Holidays

6 Tips to Eating Healthy During the Holiday Season

The holidays are here, and that means it's time to eat, drink and be merry. But, how do you keep the good times from turning into bad habits? Here's how you can maintain a healthy relationship with food during the holiday season and in the months beyond.

Focus on fiber. There's nothing wrong with indulging in a few sweet treats during the holiday season, as long as you don't overdo it. Unfortunately, it's not always easy to stop indulging once you start. You can reduce your cravings by filling your plate with high-fiber vegetables before dessert. Since they take longer to digest, these foods make you feel fuller, so you will be less likely to overindulge on sweats. They also provide a steady stream of energy, so you won't experience the exhausting crashes that come with eating sugary treats on an empty stomach.

Eat regularly. When our blood sugar gets low, we tend to experience huge cravings that can cause us to overeat. By eating several small meals and snacks every few hours throughout the day, you can keep your blood sugar stable, so you will be in a better position to make smart choices when offered sugary and processed holiday foods. Whether it's a handful of nuts, low-sugar yogurt or some mixed greens, small snacks can help you stave off hunger, while also providing you with plenty of energy to help power you through your holiday activities.

Stay hydrated. Believe it or not, dehydration can actually promote poor eating habits. When you notice a craving for sugary holiday treats, stop and drink a full glass of water. You should then wait a few minutes and see if your cravings subside. Many times, you will notice your cravings will either disappear entirely or become manageable enough for you to ignore.

Eat slowly. It can take several minutes for our stomachs to tell our brains they are full. Unfortunately, by the time it happens, we have often overeaten to the point where we feel miserable. You can prevent this from happening by eating slower than usual. Instead of just wolfing down your holiday meals, take a mindful approach to eating by savoring the taste and texture of every single bite.

Drink moderately. The vast majority of alcoholic beverages are filled with calories, carbs and sugar. At the same time, since drinking lowers inhibitions, we are much more likely to overindulge on unhealthy foods after we've had a few drinks. If you do choose to drink alcohol during your holiday festivities, don't overdo it. Instead of drinking wine, sip a wine spritzer (wine and club soda mix). You should also drink a glass of water in between alcoholic beverages to stay hydrated and keep your sugar/carb and alcohol consumption balanced.

Don't break your routines. The holiday season comes with also sorts of events and obligations that can seriously disrupt our routines. Despite this reality, it's important to maintain important routines that apply to your health and well-being. Make sure to keep up your fitness routine and prioritize sleep.  If you break with routine, it will be difficult for you to reestablish good habits once the holiday season has ended.

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