A Complete Guide To Healthy Holiday Eating

By Marisa Ramiccio. May 7th 2016

Is it really possible to eat healthy during the holidays? Can you really resist the tempting treats offered to you at Christmas parties and dinners? The answer is yes, and this guide will teach you the tips and tricks you’ll need to keep the calories to a minimum during the holiday season.

At The Office

The holidays are a time for eating, a time to cheat on your diet and indulge in traditional seasonal treats. But this year, you may want to stick to your guns and eat healthily through the holidays so you don’t have to worry about getting back in shape once the New Year comes.

But just because you’ve decided to exercise your willpower, that doesn’t mean your co-workers have, too. Chances are they’ll be bringing in treats for the whole office and will expect you to partake in the food festivities along with them. So how do you resist eating goodies at work? Try following these tips:

  • Keep healthy snacks in your desk. If all of your co-workers are snacking, it can be tough to be the odd person out. So keep some healthy snacks like trail mix and dried fruit in your desk and pull them out when you need to. By eating healthier treats throughout the day, you’ll be less likely to nibble on treats offered later in the day.
  • Steer clear of the treats. If your co-workers have put out party platters in the kitchen or break room, steer clear of that area if you feel you might be tempted to sneak a treat. If you see it and smell it, you’ll be more likely to eat it.
  • Take a treat home. If you have to have a treat, pick what tempts you the most and take it home. If you snack at the office, you’re more likely to eat more than you need to but if you take one treat home, you’ll be controlling your portion.
  • Don’t feel pressured. Of course Suzy Q in the next cubicle is going to want you to try her infamous popcorn balls and gingerbread men, but don’t feel pressured into straying from your diet if you don’t want to. It’s OK to politely decline an offering of food – or just take it home and give it to someone else.

At The Party

While you may have some control over what you eat at the office, you’re completely at the mercy of the host or hostess of the annual Christmas party. Whatever they serve is what you have to choose from, so here’s how to choose wisely:

  • Pick low-calorie foods. The fruit and veggie platters are certainly OK as are any salads and lean proteins. Try to stay away from any fried appetizers and rich desserts.
  • Eat before going to the party. If you eat a healthy meal before you go to the party, you’ll eat less at the party. You’ll be more likely to choose lighter fare, like fruits and vegetables, since your stomach will already be full.
  • Bring some mints. If you find yourself snacking mindlessly or meandering closer to the high-calorie foods, pop a mint into your mouth. The refreshing taste of mint curbs your appetite and makes you less likely to snack.
  • Eat with a smaller group. If it’s possible, eat with a small group of people. Studies show that with more people at the table, the more food you’ll eat. That’s because with people comes conversation, which takes up time. The longer you sit with food in front of you, the more likely it is you’ll grab a second helping.

During The Dinner

So far you’ve survived the office and the Christmas party. Now comes the toughest test of all: The Christmas dinner. How can you possibly stay on track during the Christmas meal? These tips may help you out:

  • Use smaller plates. Studies show that people tend to overeat at meals because they feel they need to eat everything on their plate. So put out smaller plates, bowls, cups and serving utensils so you and your guests don’t get bigger portions than needed. If you’re not the one who’s hosting the Christmas dinner, ask the host or hostess to give you a smaller plate and be sure to scoop small portions onto your plate.
  • Sit next to someone who’s also eating healthy. If you have a partner in crime, it’s easier to stick to your guns and you can also watch out for each other.
  • Don’t put food on your plate until everything’s been served. Wait to make your selection until all food has been put on the table. If you choose from the first available side dishes, you may end up with some less-than-healthy items on your plate.

Eating healthy during the holidays may sound like an impossible task, but by following these tips, you can ensure that you’ll eat healthy during the holidays.


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