Food is an important part of many holiday celebrations with family and friends. The foods served at these times can be higher in calories, fat, and/or sugar. It is also easy to overeat when there is a lot of food around. As a result, people may gain weight over the holidays.
With a little planning, you can make healthy food choices and still enjoy holiday celebrations.
Eat three meals per day Plan to eat regularly, even on a party day. Skipping meals can make you very hungry, and more likely to overeat at the party. If the event starts late, have a small snack (for example, yogurt and a piece of fruit) 1-2 hours before.
Limit appetizers It is easy to eat a full meal's worth of calories from appetizers alone. For example, 2 chicken wings, 2 sausage rolls, and 1 mini quiche have the same calories as a healthy meal. Choose a few items that you enjoy, and leave the rest. Visit with friends away from the appetizer or food table. Drink water or chew gum to help avoid mindless eating.
Re-think your drink To limit the calories from drinks:
Many holiday drinks are high in sugar and calories. Limit these drinks:
Build a healthy plate You can enjoy holidayfoods without giving up healthy eating. Try to build a healthy plate even at a party. Start with a smaller plate, if possible, to help you keep your portions smaller.
This is what a healthy plate looks like:
If you have a large plate, fill only the middle area
Eat SlowlyTake time to enjoy your food . Eating slowly will help you feel full and can keep you from over eating. Before going back for more, drink a glass of water or wait 20 minutes to see if you are really hungry. If you are still hungry choose a lower calorie food like vegetables or fruit.
Practice saying “No, thank-you” You might feel pressure to eat food that the host has prepared. Learn to say “no, thank you, I’m full” when someone invites you to eat more. Keep some food on your plate and keep your glass half full to avoid pressure to eat and drink more. Instead of a second drink of alcohol or punch, refill your glass with water or club soda.
Bring along healthy options Offer to bring dishes that have less added fat and less added sugar to parties. If you bring dessert, try a fruit tray. Your host and guests may welcome some healthy options.
Take charge in the kitchen Do yourself and your guests a favour by making a few healthy changes when preparing foods by:
Use leftovers Sometimes you end up with extra food after a party. Offer your guests a plate of food to take home for a meal or snack the next day. Party foods make great meals the day after:
Current as of: December 12, 2016
Author: Nutrition Services, Alberta Health Services
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