November 26, 2013
Healthy Eating for the Holidays
Holiday gatherings mean good times with family and friends, but for many people with dietary concerns, these parties can play havoc with good eating intentions.
The wonderful foods associated with holiday meals can become a source of stress for some people on modified diets if they are trying to lose weight or watch their blood sugar or cholesterol levels. Sara Lopinski, registered dietitian at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, suggests developing a strategy to avoid overeating during the season.
"I think the best offense is a defense. Mental preparation is the key. Visualize how you want to feel on January 2nd and maybe that will help you get through the holiday season a little better. And try to plan better when going to these social events so that it’s not a negative situation.”
Lopinski advises people to choose healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and to limit sauces, gravies and calorie-loaded drinks. She also suggests practicing portion control as a way to help prevent overeating.
“Nothing is really off limits, but the portion you eat is the key. Don’t waste calories on foods you don’t really like. Save up for those foods that you really want to eat at this time of year and limit your portion size. Certainly foods with lots of bulk such as fruits and vegetables fill you up more without too many calories. And always think about filling half of your plate with these foods.”
Lopinski says there are no quick fixes to maintaining a diet during the holidays, but making healthy food choices can help you stay on track. She also advises getting plenty of exercise and focusing on enjoying the social activities. If you have dietary concerns, you should see your primary care physician or a registered dietitian.