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Holidays Without the Guilt: 6 Ways to Love Food and the Holiday Season

1) Eat what you love! Pick the foods that you really enjoy

Don’t just eat something because it’s holiday food.  If we fill out plates with the foods that bring us the most joy, we are more likely to mindfully eat and enjoy (and listen to our body that we are full and satisfied).

2) Fill up on fiber when you can

Look for simply prepared vegetable side dishes (think roasted Brussels sprouts or root vegetables, baked sweet potatoes, butternut squash, raw vegetable salads- not the creamy casserole!)- try to fill at least 1/3 of your plate with a colorful variety  of these additions- the fiber will fill you up without filling you out.

gingerbread cookies

3) Drink Water

I can’t express this enough!  Aim for at least one big glass of water between every alcoholic drink.  Even if you don’t choose alcohol during the holidays, water is essential in our digestion, in flushing out that extra sodium that is certain to be prominent in holiday foods- and it keeps you feeling a little fuller going into meal time!

4) Keep the holiday eating to the holiday

We often think because it’s the “holiday season” that we need to lose track of our healthy eating habits- this amounts to almost 3 months of holiday indulging!  Instead, shift your mindset to enjoy the holiday- whether it is that Thanksgiving dinner or a holiday party at the office!  Try to keep these indulgences to no more than once per week during the season!

5) Stop feeling guilty

Give yourself permission to enjoy the foods you may not normally eat and then get back on track with your normal routine the next day.

6) Slow Down

Enjoy the holiday, the conversation, the people you spend your time with- take mindful bites of your food and savor it.  Remember what the holidays really mean to you, beyond the yummy food.

Contributed by Alicia Romano, MS, RD, LDN, Clinical Registered Dietician at the Frances Stern Nutrition Center at Tufts Medical Center

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