Holiday eating doesn't have to be an all-or nothing affair.
4 Tips to Help You Avoid Holiday Overeating
Eating during the holidays can be tricky because we're often presented with foods we only get once a year. That creates pressure to try "just a little bit" of everything. Here are some simple healthy eating tips to help you navigate the pitfalls of overconsumption:
Fill half your plate with vegetables. It doesn't matter how you eat veggies (fried, roasted, grilled, sautéed, steamed, blanched or covered in cheese sauce), as long as you eat them. The first question you should ask yourself when presented with a buffet or family dinner is, "where are my vegetables coming from?" If you focus on veggies, you'll ultimately eat fewer calories and feel physically better than if you immediately go for the carbs or dessert.
Use a smaller plate. Try eating off of an eight-inch plate instead of a monstrous 12-inch plate. Our brains are horrible at judging portion size, and since humans evolved to survive famine after famine, your brain will always err on the side of more food. If you use a smaller plate, you'll be able to fill it up, convincing your brain that you have plenty of food while still keeping portion sizes under control.
Put down your fork between bites. Eating slowly allows your brain and gut to communicate with each other and help you determine when you're full. If you eat too quickly, your stomach will be bursting before your brain notices and tells you to stop eating.
Pick some favorites. Decide ahead of any gathering what foods you're truly excited about and what foods you're eating "just because they're there." Eat a slice of your favorite pie, but leave the sugar cookies that are everywhere this time of year. Know that all these "special' foods are going to be there next year and if you truly want more stuffing, you can prepare it again at your leisure.
Autumn Hoverter, MS, RD, CD, faculty provider in the nutrition department at Bastyr Center.
If you experience issues with overeating at any time of year, a Bastyr Center nutrition team can help you explore non-invasive ways to improve your relationship with food. To make an appointment, call (206) 834-4100 or fill out our quick contact form.