We know what you’re all thinking, keeping your diet during the most wonderful time of the year is not as easy as eating pumpkin pie. But we’ve done our research! The CDC and American Heart Association have come out with two awesome guidelines to help you keep up your diet through the holidays– And they are more simple than you think.
Let us start with a few pointers from the CDC shall we…
1. Holiday-Proof Your Plan by Planning Ahead
- If your meal is served later than normal, eat a small snack at your usual mealtime and eat a little less when dinner is served.
- Invited to a party? Bring a healthy dish along. Plenty of people will bring the sweets. (Be the change).
- Don’t skip meals to save up for a feast. You’ll be really hungry and more likely to overeat (we’ve all done it, but you’ll be sorry about it later).
2. Outsmart the Buffet
When you face a spread of delicious holiday food, make healthy choices easier:
- Make a small plate of the foods you like best. Portion control is everything.
- Start with vegetables to take the edge off your appetite.
- Eat slowly. It takes at least 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full.
- Avoid or limit alcohol. If you do have an alcoholic drink, have it with food.
3. Fit in Favorites
Choose the dishes you really love and can’t get any other time of year, like Aunt Edna’s pumpkin pie (which has a lot less calories than pecan pie). Slow down and savor a small serving, and make sure to count it in your meal plan.
4. Gotta Keep Moving
You’ve got a lot on your plate this time of year (literally), and physical activity can get crowded out. But being active is your secret holiday weapon; it can help make up for eating more than usual and reduce stress during this most stressful time of year. Get moving with friends and family, such as taking a walk after a holiday meal.
5. Get Your Zzz’s In
Going out more and staying out later often means cutting back on sleep. Sleep loss can make it harder to control your blood sugar, and when you’re sleep deprived you’ll tend to eat more and prefer high-fat, high-sugar food. Aim for 7 hours per night to guard against mindless eating.
“Most of all, remember what the season is about—celebrating and connecting with the people you care about. When you focus more on the fun, it’s easier to focus less on the food.”
See that wasn’t so bad! Now lets move along to what the American Heart Association has to say…
“This guide includes great tips and recipes to help you navigate the holiday season in a healthy way. Here are some simple ways you and your family can eat healthy. Visit heart.org/healthyeating to learn more.”
• Fruits and vegetables • Whole grains • Beans and legumes • Nuts and seeds • Fish & skinless poultry, or plant-based alternatives • Fat-free and low-fat dairy products • Healthier fats and nontropical oils.
• Sodium and salt • Saturated fat • Sweets and added sugars, including sugar-sweetened beverages • Red meats — if you choose to eat red meat, select the leanest cuts.
• Trans fat and partially hydrogenated oils
- Choose wisely, even with healthier foods. Ingredients and nutrient content can vary by brand and preparation.
- Compare nutrition information on package labels and select products with the lowest amounts of sodium, added sugars, saturated fat and trans fat, and no partially hydrogenated oils.
- Watch your calorie intake. To maintain weight, consume only as many calories as you use up through physical activity. If you want to lose weight, consume fewer calories or burn more calories.
- Eat reasonable portions. Often this is less than you are served.
- Eat a wide variety of foods to get all the nutrients your body needs.
- Prepare and eat healthier meals at home. You’ll have more control over ingredients.
- Look for the Heart-Check mark to easily identify foods that can be part of an overall healthy diet. Learn more at heartcheck.org
**You can find delicious alternative recipes for family meals from the A.H.A. here.