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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.

SOUND BITE:    “I think the most important thing is to check your mindset before going into the holiday season.  Think more in terms of ‘holi-day’ not ‘holi-week’ or ‘holi-month’ because it tends to be an eating marathon from Halloween through New Year’s Day.”

Lopinski advises people to choose healthy foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and to avoid sauces, gravies and calorie-loaded drinks.  She also suggests practicing portion control as a way to help prevent overeating.

SOUND BITE:  “If possible, avoid putting yourself into tempting situations such as the break room at work or holiday buffets.  And if it is a buffet, consider bringing something that you can eat and enjoy.  And lastly think about tablespoon-size servings, not serving-spoon servings.”

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 focus on enjoying the social activities.  If you have dietary concerns, you should see your primary care physician or a registered dietitian.

This is Ruth Slottag at SIU School of Medicine in Springfield.