Oh, the holiday dinner table…such an array of assorted treats that you want to eat them all! Nutrition Expert Lisa Ronco shares a few ways to enjoy your treats while staying mindful about what’s going on your plate.
Maintaining healthy nutrition and fitness goals during the holidays can be quite a challenge. This time of year we seem to be faced with endless parties to attend where food is everywhere you look.
Do you feel like a kid in a candy store when faced with a mouth-watering holiday dinner table? Ever say to yourself during these situations: “Well, it’s the holidays…”
Here are 6 ways that you can enjoy yourself without overindulging:
1. Don’t arrive on an empty stomach!
Skipping breakfast or lunch may lead to overeating and eating more than if you had eaten beforehand. Have a bowl of cereal, vegetable sticks, fresh fruit, a salad, a handful of nuts, or a small sandwich before you arrive.
2. Select small portions.
Moderation is key. Selecting small portions allows you to control your food intake, yet enjoy all the different items offered. If you really crave a higher-calorie indulgent item, enjoy a small serving.
3. Choose foods wisely.
Fill your plate with lower calorie, nutrient-dense items, such as leafy green salads, vegetable dishes, and lean proteins, and taking smaller portions of the richer ones. That way, you can eat a larger amount of food for fewer calories and not feel deprived.
4. 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 takes ~ 20 minutes for your brain to get the message from your stomach that you are full.
5. Leave the table when you are finished!
Lingering at the table, you may be tempted to continue eating. Stay long enough to enjoy the meal, but leave the table while you are still ahead of the game. Offer to help with dishes, clear the table, or take a walk.
6. Concentrate on your meal while eating it.
Focus on chewing food well and enjoying the smell, taste, and texture of each item. Mealtime multitasking can make lead to mindless calories consumed. Try to set your fork down until you’re finished chatting so you are more aware of what you’re taking in.
Use these mindful tips during the holidays when you are faced with those buffet tables, holidays parties and family meals, and stay on track with maintaining the hard work you have done all year. Remember, life is too short to never have a dessert or two, but the real gift is spending quality time with loved ones and truly enjoying yourself.
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Lisa Ronco, MS, RD, CDE, CDN is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Personal Trainer based in NYC. By emphasizing a balanced, individualized approach to eating and exercise, she helps individuals create long-term success that allows their health and overall well-being to flourish.