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Staying Healthy During the Holiday Hoopla

Along with the holidays come many parties and social events. These events can also sabotage weight loss efforts you have made up to this point. Stay on track this holiday with these suggestions.

Have a strategy.

First, determine what options may be offered at the event you plan to attend. Is it just cocktails and appetizers or a sit-down dinner? By knowing a bit more about the event, it can help you to better stay on track. Most often, lack of thought and planning will lead to giving into temptation.

Do not skip meals.

We all get excited to taste and sample foods and drink when out, but if we skip a meal or snack to do so, it will often backfire. When hunger hits, it can make it that much more difficult to make healthy decisions. Aim for balanced meals and snacks throughout the day to avoid overeating at the event.

Set healthy and achievable goals for the holiday.

It is easy to become a couch potato when the weather cools down and motivation begins to diminish. Set achievable holiday goals such as walking or running a 5K race during the holiday season. Many races are themed for the holidays, such as a Turkey Trot, Santa Run or Ugly Sweater Run. Having your friends or family join along will also make these events more enjoyable and be another opportunity to spend time together.

Bring healthy options.

If invited to a potluck or gathering, always bring a healthy choice. You can never be sure if there will be nutritious options available making it easy to veer off track. Some healthy appetizers include black bean, guacamole, or hummus dip with vegetables or a fruit platter. Healthy entrees can include chili, chicken and vegetable skewers or tossed salad.

Be selective.

There is often an abundance of sweets around the holidays, but it doesn’t mean we have to give in to them all. Be selective in the treats that you do choose. Aim to limit the portion and try to choose treats that are often only prepared during the holiday season. If you’re great grandmothers homemade chocolate cake recipe is only made once a year, this would be the time to splurge.

Make meals mirror the healthy plate.

Whether a friend’s party or family dinner, be sure to fill your plate with whole, unprocessed foods to help provide satiety. If a potluck or buffet style, peruse the options first to determine what would be the best options to fill your plate. Aim for half of the plate to include vegetables, one quarter lean protein and one-quarter whole grains or healthy starches.

Kristen Bourque, RD, LD has been writing health-related articles since 2000. Her nutrition articles and recipes have been featured in "Today's Dietitian" as well as the Canadian magazine "Glow". Kristen combines her love of nutrition with cooking on her personal blog, Swanky Dietitian.

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