Here we are at the kick-off to the holiday season! What joy! What fun! Get out the “fat pants”! Huh? This season is full of celebration, which is delightful. But those celebrations last for the next six weeks! If you’d like to reach the other side feeling good and on track with your health and wellness goals, these 6 tips to eating well this holiday season will get you there!
Drink Plenty of Water
And by water, I don’t mean diet soda, coffee, or juice. I mean water. Our bodies rely on water to perform nearly every necessary bodily function. Daily consumption of about half your body weight in ounces of water is a simple way to determine if hydration is adequate. (For example, a 150 pound person would aim to drink 75 ounces of water per day.) That is baseline. For many, hydration needs are higher related to exercise, weight and health status, and other food/beverage consumption.
When it comes to getting enough water throughout the day, be sure to start the day off right. Beginning each day (like practically the moment your feet hit the floor) with a large glass of water is a great way to get digestion started, rehydrate from sleep, and help boost feelings of satiety.
Carrying a water bottle (preferably the refillable kind) around throughout the day is critical to keeping hydrated. If water is not on hand, we simply forget to drink enough.
Additionally, for most of us, it is challenging to decipher our body’s cues for thirst verses hunger. If you find yourself feeling “hungry”, try to drink some water first. Many times, when we feel hungry, our body is actually asking for hydration.
Enjoy Two Bites
Did you know that research suggests that the 2nd bite of a food is the best bite! So when it comes to enjoying rich foods, remember the two bite rule! It’s not going to get better than that anyway! This is especially true for treats or large meals with many types of foods to enjoy.
Get a Plate
There are many holiday gatherings where food is out for the sampling throughout the celebration. But this holiday season, get a plate and sit down to enjoy your food. The truth of the matter is that the brain processes our food intake differently when we graze, stand to eat, and mindlessly sample food.
If a beautiful spread is set before you, how wonderful! We are lucky to have friends and family to generously host and celebrate with us. But mindfully sitting down to enjoy food allows the brain to inform the body of fullness. We feel far more satisfied when we sit down to eat a meal than grabbing a few nibbles of food every time we walk by the table.
“Indulgence” in our culture has become synonymous with “over-doing it”. That is the most backward thinking imaginable. Indulgence is supposed to be a luxury. But drinking too much and feeling like crap the next day or eating so much that we need to put different pants on isn’t a luxury – it’s a punishment.
True indulgence is kindness and self-care. Indulge is quite moments together. Indulge in the opportunity to be generous. Now we’re getting somewhere!
Be the One to Bring a Healthy Dish
God Bless the one who brings a green salad to the holiday gathering. I’m all about enjoying traditional dishes and holiday favorites but not exclusively! A nicely rounded out selection of foods makes for a beautiful plate and happy tummies!
Stake a Claim on Alcohol
A glass or two of wine or a cocktail, fine. More than that? Why?
We can say whatever we want to skirt around the truth but the facts are the facts. Binge drinking (considered more than 5 drinks for a man or 4 drinks for a woman over a several hour period) is significantly associated with a host of nasty things – increased rates of violence, accidents, cancer and heart disease. So stake your claim this holiday season. Celebrate without paying for it the next day or any day after that.
For more information, check out the Centers for Disease Control.
This year, we are skipping the slippery slope that can be holiday celebrations! This year, may you feel full of life and truly well. Eating well this holiday season is a mindset shift your body and whole self will thank you for.
Here is to a blessed and joyous season!
Cole is a wife and mom of three. She has been a Registered Dietitian since 2005. Her journey through self-mastery and anchoring herself in her family has been the most important and on-going practice of her life. Cole loves being active with her family, yoga, cooking, and spending time in nature.