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Diet-Friendly Tips to Survive the Holidays

During the holiday season, food temptation is everywhere! From sweet drinks and rich appetizers to bountiful meals and delicious desserts, it’s tough to eat healthy and in proper portions.

As a member of the Together Counts™ program for active, healthy living, we recognize that having a game plan will help you survive the December through January season of abundance. Read on for Healthy Dining’s holiday-friendly tips.

  • Make small, but smart substitutions. Small changes can save calories without otherwise impacting your meal. So skip that extra serving of food or trying adding vegetables to your soups.
  • Plan ahead. Pre-plan what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The more you strategize your meals ahead of time, the greater the likelihood that you’ll stick to those set meals and won’t overindulge in the moment.
  • Make a distinctive end to a meal. Once your meal is over, do something to tell your body and your mind you’re done eating. For example, brush your teeth or suck on a mint.
  • Plan a treat. Eating sweet treats in moderation is okay! Plan a treat you’ll look forward to, such as a once a week dessert. Keep the treat small but satisfying.
  • Eat a light snack/meal before going to a holiday party. A full social calendar doesn’t have to mean a full belly! Eat a small bite – a bit of mozzarella cheese and lean ham or an apple with peanut butter – before the party, so you don’t overeat heavy appetizers.
  • Keep a food journal. Tracking your food intake can help you stick to a healthy regime. Be honest in your food log, too. If you indulge, write it down!
  • Prep healthy snacks in advance. When a craving hits, avoid the vending machine and eat a healthy snack instead. Stash a handful of nuts or a piece of fruit in your bag, car or desk drawer.
  • Know your portions. A bite here and a bite there seem harmless, but the extra calories add up! Make sure you’re eating appropriate portions, especially during the holidays. For example, a serving size of a medium potato is the size of a computer mouse, while a three-ounce serving of meat is the size of a bar of soap or a deck of cards.
  • Share a dessert. Want a piece of pie? Ask a friend or family member to split it with you. Studies show that a few bites is all it takes to satisfy a sweet craving!
  • Eat Mindfully. Mindless eating is a quick path to extra calories. Instead, sit down during your meals and snacks so you’ll enjoy the food and the dining experience.
  • Serve healthy foods at holiday gatherings. Try preparing something less conventional like a fruit platter. That healthy dessert will be a welcome treat – you can even go back for seconds!
  • Keep a schedule. Know your party and activity schedule, and make sure you’re consistently eating healthy, especially between holiday get-togethers.
  • Eat a salad. Start your meal with a fit salad instead of a fattening appetizer.
  • Take a nap. You’re more likely to overeat if you’re tired. While the holidays are busy, and if you let yourself get overtired, you’re more likely to overindulge!
  • Take a post-meal walk. Work off some of your holiday meals with a brisk walk.
  • Stay hydrated. Don’t confuse hunger with thirst. Drink liquids throughout the day to keep thirst at bay.
  • Don’t rush. Take your time to munch on food and drinks, especially at holiday gatherings. Eating slowly can help you notice how much you’re really consuming. You’ll know when you’re getting full, so you might not overeat, too.
  • Veg Out! Fill your plate with fruits and veggies. Use light dips or toppings, which can quickly add lots of calories to your meal.

Take the guesswork out of making the best choices with dietitian-recommended menu choices like these featured on HealthyDiningFinder.com and served at restaurants nationwide:

Healthy Dining’s signature web and mobile site, HealthyDiningFinder.com, is the only search engine of its kind providing personalized dining out recommendations validated by Healthy Dining’s team of registered dietitians. HealthyDiningFinder.com features more than 4,000 menu choices from participating restaurants nationwide enabling diet- and nutrition- conscious consumers to find nutrition information and Healthy Dining options emphasizing lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains and unsaturated fats. HealthyDiningFinder.com also features a Kids LiveWell platform, a program developed by the National Restaurant Association, to help parents find restaurants offering healthier meals for children. With 25 years of expertise in the restaurant industry and hundreds of thousands of restaurant recipes analyzed for nutrient content, Healthy Dining is the most experienced restaurant nutrition services provider in the world.

For more food inspiration take a look at these other post from Together Counts!

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