A Guide to Healthy Holiday Eating | Harris Casel Institute Melbourne FL
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A Guide to Healthy Holiday Eating

holiday meal healthy eating seasonal health and wellness student tipsCut calories from your holiday meal

Remembering to cut calories during the holiday season can be difficult.  During the holidays many people are tempted by rich and fattening foods whether they're on sale at the local drugstore or piled up at the holiday dinner table.

Starting this Thanksgiving, millions of Americans will be crowding around their tables to eat with loved ones. After each holiday season, many people lose track of eating healthy or sticking to their diets. Since more holidays are right around the corner—and tis’ the season to rejoice with delicious treats—the Harris Casel Institute is offering our students ways they can stick to a healthy diet this holiday season.

Step #1: Save room for the main meal

During the holidays, it’s easy to overindulge on finger foods and appetizers that are laid out as we chat with relatives or loved ones. It’s important that you don’t go overboard when snacking before your main course. Saving some room for dinner can allow you to balance out your diet for the day and help you from eating appetizers that are high in calories. If you do partake in the appetizer tray, remember to avoid high-calorie items like dressings, chips, or cheeses. Instead, opt for a small helping of raw vegetables and fat-free dip to hold you over until the main course.

Step #2: Aim to eat more healthy foods than fattening ones

Traditionally, the holidays are a great time to indulge a little. We want our students to enjoy the holidays, and indulging every now and then isn’t bad. However, if you’d like to watch your diet this season, then opt for a larger helpings of healthier dishes over more fattening ones. During the main meal, opt for lean meats, vegetables, and fruits. Try to take smaller portions of biscuits, gravy, dressings, butter, sauces, and other dishes with added sugars.

Step #3: Burn off your calories before and after your holiday meal

Staying active during the holiday can help prevent extra weight gain. Think about exercising before and after your holiday meal. Before you travel to a relatives’ house or while the turkey or ham is defrosting or cooking, go for a run or a walk. You could even get in some gym time before prep time. After lunch or dinner, make sure you stay active so you can manage your caloric intake. Think about playing a football game with your relatives, participating in a 5k Turkey Trot, or going for a hike. You can help burn off calories if you stay active.

Step #4: Avoid high-calorie drinks

Drinks with additives and extra sugars can spike your calorie intake for the holiday season. While many people like to indulge in alcoholic drinks during the holiday season, you can manage a low-calorie diet while also having fun. Limit yourself to just one or two alcoholic beverages. Make them last longer by sipping slowly. Opt for water in between high-calorie drinks. This will help you feel fuller and flush out the extra sugars in your system.

Step #5: Eat one helping of the main course and dessert

During the holidays, you’ll likely be snacking throughout the day. However, when it comes to meal time, try to limit yourself to one helping of the main course and one helping of dessert. When you set boundaries for yourself, you can maintain a healthy diet without worrying about overindulging. You can still eat all the sides you love, just make sure the proportions aren’t too big.

Pro tip: Remember to eat slowly because this helps your body feel full and may even prevent you from overeating.

Tip #6: Distract yourself with activities

A lot of people are social eaters and drinkers. When they’re talking with people and food is available, then we tend to eat impulsively. Instead of keeping your hands busy by holding a plate, engage with your relatives or loved ones more. Ask them to show you their family photos or distract each other by playing a game or creating a holiday craft. When you put your attention into interacting and being proactive with other people, then you time can move quicker and you can forget about indulging in food.

Why not give these healthy eating tips a try this holiday season? Taking the time to stay dedicated to your health may make you enjoy the seasonal festivities more. You'll already on the right track for those New Years’ Resolutions and your health and waistline may thank you in the long-run! Plus, as you manage eating smaller portions, you may even be able to spread out your left overs over a longer period of time. Harris Casel wishes our students a happy holiday season!
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Harris Casel is proud to offer our students health and wellness advice, student tips, and career advice in our bi-weekly blog. If you'd like more information on our various healthcare career training programs, reach out to us today!