How to Avoid Overeating During the Holidays, According to a Nutritionist
It may only be October, but the holiday season is quickly approaching and along with thinking about travel plans, parties, and gift shopping, another topic may be looming in your mind: How are you going to stay healthy during this notoriously food-filled time of year? Nutritionist Maya Feller, MS, RD, CDN, weighs in with three simple tips to help curb overeating ths holiday season and make healthy decisions for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas, and beyond.
1. Know that "saving up" your calories for a big meal can backfire on you.
"Letting yourself go hungry makes it harder to listen to your internal hunger and satiety cues when mealtime comes around," says Feller. "Rather, plan ahead and eat as you normally would. Have a balanced breakfast and lunch with an abundance of vegetables and enjoy the special dinner knowing that you have nourished your body throughout the whole day." If you do this, you're less likely to overeat at the dinner table and you'll be oh-so-thankful you loaded up on nutritious eats throughout the day.
2. Listen to your body.
Especially during the busy holiday season, it's really important to listen to internal cues to gauge your hunger. "If your body is asking for a snack, you should listen, even if it's close to mealtime. Choosing to have a snack like one serving of almonds paired with one serving of plain yogurt is delicious. This nutrient-rich snack will deliver fiber and heart-healthy fats that can bridge the gap between meals," suggests Feller. You may even want to try eating a filling snack—like an apple with a handful of almonds or a few spoonfuls of peanut butter—directly before a sit-down meal so you've got less room for indulgences.
3. Try the "dinner plate" strategy.
"Many holiday gatherings offer passed appetizers and a buffet-style meal. This can result in standing to eat and mindlessly grazing. The solution, get a dinner plate and intentionally choose the appetizers you want to try as well as the main course," offers Feller. "Both the appetizers and main course should fit on the dinner plate. And for an added bonus, aim to make your appetizers plant-based. Your body will thank you." Even if you do go over the amount of food that fits on the dinner plate, at least you'll be aware of it and can slow down and be more conscious of what you're consuming.
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What's your favorite piece of advice to eat healthy during the holiday season? We're definitely going to be putting Feller's tips into practice this winter—and all year long.