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Seven Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

The holiday season does not need to mean the choice between weight gain or deprivation. Read this blog for seven tips for eating healthy this holiday season.

It is November, which means the holidays are rapidly approaching. Later this month we will be tempted by pumpkin pie and stuffing. Soon after that it will be December and the temptations of sweets and desserts will abound. There is no doubt that the stress of the holidays and the availability of unhealthy food can be a challenge to our healthy eating plan.

Here are a few ideas to stay healthy during the holidays.

1. Eat mindfully. For example, when you are at the Thanksgiving table, mindfully eat your favorite foods. Savor the stuffing and pumpkin pie. Part of health is pleasure. If we deprive ourselves of our favorite foods or feel we cannot (or should not) join in with special meal sharing with our friends and family, it affects our health in other ways. Stressing about eating is counterproductive to our health. Give yourself permission to enjoy the holiday meals. Just enjoy them mindfully.

2. Throw it out. If there is leftover Halloween candy or food from a holiday party, it is okay to throw it out. If someone bakes you cookies, you can freeze some for later. Do not feel obligated to eat all of the unhealthful food that comes your way. It is okay to mindfully indulge, but there is no reason to mindlessly indulge daily from now until New Year's. It may seem like a waste of money to throw out food, but it is better than compromising your health.

3. Eat your vegetables. Load up on vegetables so you fill up with healthy foods. This will help prevent you from going overboard with the not-so-healthy food choices.

4. Go small. Use smaller serving plates to keep portions under control. We consume an average of 92% of what we put on our plate, so it is worth paying attention to what we feed ourselves. A two inch difference in plate diameter—from 12" to 10" plates—results in 22% fewer calories being served. Assuming a typical dinner has 800 calories, a smaller plate would lead to weight loss of approximately 18 pounds per year for an average size adult (Small Plate Movement).

5. Switch it up. Eat with your non-dominant hand to slow down your eating.

6. Leave it. Decide that it is okay to leave food on your plate if you are full.

7. Wait. If you are still hungry, allow a few minutes before reaching for seconds. It takes 20 minutes for the fullness in our stomach to reach our brains which is why we can reach the point of being stuffed. Waiting before you go in for seconds may give you enough time to realize that you are not hungry anymore.

The holidays do not need to mean the choice between weight gain or deprivation. Find the middle ground and enjoy your favorite foods this holiday season.

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Dina Colman is an integral health coach and writer. She has her MBA from Kellogg at Northwestern University and her Master’s degree in Holistic Health Education from John F. Kennedy University. She has an office in Danville where she works with clients to live an integral life of health and wellness. She founded Four Quadrant Living, providing information and motivation for healthy living through nourishment of the four quadrants of our lives—Mind, Body, Relationships, and Environment. This blog is from the Body quadrant. Contact Dina at dina@fourquadrantliving.com

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