Healthy Holiday Eating
By Amanda Gavlik
Just because you're on vacation doesn't mean your healthy eating habits
have to do the same.
The season for savory dishes has arrived, but maintaining nutritious eating
habits shouldn’t be daunting. Take these ideas from Elisabetta Politi, R.D.,
nutrition manager at Duke University Diet and Fitness, and you might find the
happy medium between being a diehard dieter and a guiltless gorger.
Say so long to strict rules
Politi says people who are ultra-strict about their diet during the holidays
generally don’t enjoy the celebration and tend to rebound later. “When January
comes and everyone starts their New Year’s resolutions, those people who have
done really well through the holidays tend not to be highly motivated.”
Prepare and set goals for gatherings
Eat a snack before you head to Aunt Betty’s infamous afternoon feast. If you
take the edge off of your appetite, you’ll be less likely to overindulge on the
mouthwatering dishes. When you get there, try to keep track of your calorie
intake. One goal Politi recommends is limiting alcohol intake to one beverage
and drinking sparkling or seltzer water during the event. Think in terms of
calorie comparisons, too. A serving of eggnog packs 251 calories, while a
serving of spiced cider has 128 calories. Choose the cider, and with just one
beverage serving, you’ve cut 123 calories from your day's caloric total.
Remember portion control
At celebrations, especially those with buffets, Politi advises, “take a look
at what’s being offered before deciding what to put on your plate.” When making
your plate, Politi suggests this ratio: 1/2 vegetables, 1/4 protein, and 1/4
grains. “Most of the volume on your plate is taken by vegetables, which tend to
be lower in calories. Of course, you want vegetables that are not cooked with a
lot of fat,” Politi says. If you’d rather not make a heaping plate of food once
in the day, she also recommends the alternative of eating small portions
frequently to avoid being overly hungry at any point.