Tips to Keep Holiday Eating in Check

cheeseballWhile we often think of the holiday season as especially known for decadent treats and dishes, I beg to differ. The everyday American diet is full of decadent treats and dishes – we just dress them up more prettily at the holidays! We tend to give ourselves permission to indulge more readily throughout this season too. But, don’t let holiday fare sabotage your quest for a healthier life. Here are some great tips to help you face the abundance of unhealthy choices that we’re assaulted with during the holidays and everyday:

Tip 1: Fill up with the fewest calories.
Vegetables and fruits have the fewest calories for the amount of food you consume. Make vegetables the center point of your holiday meal planning, rather than meats. Seek out the veggie tray at a party, and remind yourself of your goal to live younger longer as you choose healthier options.

Tip 2: Bring a healthy dish (or 2)
When attending a holiday gathering we often feel at the mercy of what the host has prepared. But, here in the south it is common to offer to bring a dish. Let your host know that you are pursing a healthier diet and offer to bring a festive green salad (and a fruit salad as a dessert option). Everyone will benefit if they partake of your healthy options.

Tip 3: Flee from cheese and saturated fat-laden dishes!
Cheese used to be my favorite food. I once loved the cheese balls I received from patients at the holidays. But then I read that the number one food that raises our LDL cholesterol is cheese. And Americans eat more saturated fat in cheese than in any other food. When I realized this, I decided to quit eating the food that Americans eat more of than anything else. Flee from cheese!

Tip 4: No calories from beverages
Holiday punches, nogs and cocktails pack a “punch” in concentrated calories. If you are seeking to lose or maintain your weight, don’t take in calories from the liquids you drink. Enjoy sparkling water with a wedge of citrus or sugarless coffee or tea and save yourself countless calories.

Tip 5: Treasure the friendship and fellowship
It can feel confining to refrain from holiday food-traditions and offerings. But, I encourage you to reframe your holiday mindset to focus on the treasures of friends and family instead of the fare. You may get push-back from some who wonder why you pass on dessert or eschew a traditional family favorite. But, it poses a great opportunity to tell them what you have learned and encourage them to discover for themselves how to live younger longer in “Prescription for Life.”






“Cheese” photo courtesy of stockimages at