By: Vanessa Cobarrubia, RD, LD

With the holidays in full swing, tsunamis of yummy and sweet temptations corner us at every turn from morning to night. Maintaining your healthy habits doesn’t mean you have to give up your holiday favorites, however we must practice moderation. Despite the cold weather, make it a priority to exercise on a regular basis since this is good for both the mind and body. Here are my suggestions:

  • Do not skip meals.
    • This strategy is never encouraged since itcan result in one becoming overly hungry, therefore more challenged with portion control. Instead, eat a simple breakfast and aim for a lean protein, vegetables, and a healthy fat at lunch (such as a grilled chicken salad with lots of vegetables and a vinaigrette dressing).
  • Never go to an event starving.
    • Aim for a snack with fiber, protein, and/or fat before heading out to your party to help take the edge off. Some simple suggestions are raw vegetables and hummus, apple plus a tablespoon nut butter, or small handful of almonds.
  •  Do not deprive yourself.
    • Allow yourself to have your favorite holiday food, however enjoy a small piece and do not feel guilty. Eating should be enjoyable experience. Maybe you can eliminate the bread, corn, or other everyday foods at that meal to help balance it out.
  • Move away from the food.
    • Try to socialize with people away from the buffet or snack table. If you are in close range to the appetizers and chips, you are much more likely to snack on these items. Always put your food on a small plate versus nibbling from the large serving bowls and plates.
  • Practice meal planning.
    • Make your initial goal to meal plan for the next TWO meals. This seems like a more realistic approach for most. The healthy choice is rarely the quick, easy choice. For example, at breakfast start thinking about lunch and dinner. Do you need to defrost something or make a quick stop at the grocery store?
  • Bring a healthy option.
    • Consider bringing a vegetable or fruit tray to the next holiday function to ensure there is healthy option available at the event.
  • Limit your alcohol.
    • Try to alternate alcohol with water or club soda. Alcohol can lower inhibitions making it easier for us to overeat and make poor food choices. Try to limit yourself to one drink.
  • Limit liquid calories.
    • Liquid calories such as soda, punch, eggnog, and alcohol do not register as foods therefore we do not adjust our food intake. These extra calories are quickly metabolized which often raise blood sugar and contribute to weight gain.
  • Maintain physical activity.
    • Many of us who live in Central Oregon know the winters can be brutal. When winter comes, we give up our exercise regimens. Figure out a plan B such as joining a gym, streaming exercises online, or purchasing a new exercise DVD. Make an effort to add extra steps to your day by parking farther, taking the stairs, and walking a few laps at the store before you begin shopping.
  • Practice stress management.
    • Know your boundaries and learn to say “no”. We often overextend ourselves which leaves little time for us to take care of our own self. Incorporate mindful practices such as deep breathing, meditation, yoga, and light exercises. Take mini-me vacations like taking a hot bath, reading a book, or working on a hobby you love.
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