Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

DECEMBER 22, 2014
With patients delivering homemade sweets to your pharmacy counter, how can you ensure that the turkey is the only one stuffed during the holiday season?

I try to eat healthy and not consume too many “off-limit” foods this time of year, but it is hard when temptations surround you. I have put together some simple guidelines that can help you and your patients make healthy food choices.


Health warning: a cupcake with lettuce is still a cupcake!

I have already followed some of these tips this year, and it has helped me limit my intake of those tempting, high-calorie foods during the holidays. 

Think about people, not food

Concentrate on socializing, making new acquaintances, and having fun. Spend time conversing with relatives or reminiscing with old friends. Think about what you are celebrating, not just about how great the food is!

Plan before you eat

When you arrive at celebrations, check out all of the food options and develop a plan that will enable you to sample the foods you enjoy without abandoning the good habits you’ve formed. Remember, it is okay to have some holiday treats; just spend your calories wisely and then enjoy the foods you choose!

Make good holiday food choices

Choose more often:
·      Turkey breast
·      Chicken breast
·      Mineral water
·      Plain potatoes
·      Tossed salad
·      Steamed vegetables
·      Fresh fruit 
·      Plain rice

Choose less often:
·      Beef prime rib
·      Pie 
·      Cake 
·      Stuffing
·      Sugar-sweetened beverages
·      High-calorie alcoholic beverages 
·      Gravy 
·      Bread pudding
·      Candy
·      Eggnog

6 Tips for avoiding holiday overindulgence

1.    Don’t arrive on an empty stomachDon't skip lunch so you can splurge on dessert! Have some vegetable sticks, fresh fruit, a salad, a handful of nuts, or a small sandwich before you arrive to a holiday event. Skipping breakfast or lunch may cause you to overeat and consume more calories than you would if you had eaten something beforehand
2.    Offer to bring a healthy dish. This strategy not only provides you with a good menu option, but your host will also greatly appreciate the help.
3.    Avoid excess alcohol and snacksSave your calories for the main meal. Alcohol provides many calories and virtually no nutrients. Also, try not to sit within arm’s reach of tempting snack foods.
4.    Select small portions. Moderation is key. Selecting small portions allows you to control your calorie intake yet enjoy all the different items offered. If you really crave a high-calorie item, go ahead and treat yourself to a small serving.
5.    Eat slowly. Take time and enjoy the taste of your meal. Pace yourself and try to be the last person to finish each course. Take small bites, and chew slowly. It usually takes about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are full. By eating slowly, you might be less likely to raid the dessert table.
6.    Leave the table when you are done. If you linger at the table, you may be tempted to continue eating even if you are not hungry. Stay long enough to enjoy the meal, but leave the table while you are still ahead of the calorie game. Offer to help with dishes, clear the table, or take a walk. 

Happy holidays and cheers to a healthy 2015!


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