10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain and Eat Healthier this Christmas – 80 Twenty Nutrition

10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain and Eat Healthier this Christmas

Holidays often mean lots of time spent with family and friends, and usually involve lots of food. So what do you do if you’re trying to lose weight, eat healthier or want to avoid holiday weight gain? Here are my dietitian-approved tips to help you stick to healthy eating while still enjoying the holiday season.

Lola trying to sneak a cookie

10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain and Eat Healthy this Christmas

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10 Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain and Overeating - how to eat healthy this Christmas - tips from media registered dietitian nutritionist Christy Brissette from 80 Twenty Nutrition in Chicago

1. Avoid diet plans

Don’t tell yourself you’ll go on a diet after the holidays. You’ll be more likely to overdo it while you still can, and this all-or-nothing thinking often leads to a cycle of overeating, not eating enough, and then overeating again. If you want to make a lifestyle change, start now. And remember, the less extreme, the more sustainable it will be (not to mention healthier for your body, mind and spirit).

Want to avoid holiday weight gain? Don't diet! More tips: Click To Tweet

2. Don’t skip meals

Oftentimes people will try not to eat much on the day of a large holiday meal or event. Trying to “save up” your calories this way just leads to overeating later on and feeling guilty about it. Eat healthy meals as you usually would throughout the day and when you go to the holiday party or dinner, have normalized portions of foods you enjoy. Then move on. No guilt needed.

3. Snack smart

Eat a small snack before you go to a party. If you arrive hungry you’ll be willing to eat anything… especially if it’s less healthy. Great snack ideas will include fibre and protein. Try having veggie sticks with bean dip, berries with low fat Greek yogurt, or an apple with a tablespoon of peanut butter.

4. Make one great plate

When you go for second helpings, it becomes hard to keep track of how much you’re eating. Make one plate so you can better see portion sizes and stay on track. Make half your plate salad and veggies and the rest higher calorie dishes. You can also bring a healthy dish with you so you know there will be something you can eat. Try bringing my Warm Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, Sauteed Rapini with a Kick or Scrumptious Lettuce Turkey Wraps to get more vegetables on the menu!

Mock Christmas Dinner

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5. Step away from the buffet

Where you position yourself at a party makes all the difference in how much you end up eating. Avoid mindless eating by stepping away from the buffet and moving as far away from it as possible. That way you’ll have to think twice before reaching for another helping of food… and you can focus on conversation instead!

6. Sip on lower calorie beverages

Drink water to slow down your eating and help you avoid extra calories from alcohol, juices and other high calorie drinks. For extra flavor, try sparkling water with a squeeze of lime or splash of cranberry juice.

7. Bring a healthy dish
Ever been in the situation where you show up at a party or a dinner and there’s nothing to eat but refined carbs and deep fried appetizers? It happens!

Showing up to a party blind means you’re putting your health goals in the hands of your host. That person may or may not think the holidays are a time for healthier options. Take some control back by letting your host know you’ll bring a healthy dish. It’s a win-win because it’s in the spirit of giving (what host doesn’t welcome some extra help) and if there really aren’t any healthy options, you’re guaranteeing there’s one dish you can enjoy! That can be the bulk of your meal and you can sample some of the other options.

The best dish to bring is loaded with fiber and protein to fill you up for fewer calories. Bonus points if you can incorporate some superfoods to up the health benefits in the dish!

1. Bring a #healthy dish to your holiday party. 2. Eat healthier. More tips: Click To Tweet

8. Be “choosy”
I saw a client recently who has been rocking her weight loss plan but was feeling some anxiety about going to her parent’s house for Christmas dinner. She described that her mom typically makes 4 different desserts and her brother’s wife brings 2 more. When I asked her, “Which
dessert it your absolute favorite?” she quickly exclaimed, “My mom’s apple pie is the best!”

We talked about what it would be like to have a small piece of that special pie, really enjoy it, and not have some of those “lesser” desserts that really didn’t do it for her. She was so relieved to just focus on her favorite one!

That’s why it pays to be choosy. Choose 1 less healthy item in a small portion and really savor it… and if a high calorie food doesn’t seem worth it, don’t put it on your plate.

9. Focus on the company

As much as food and drinks seem to be the focus at holiday parties and dinners, try to shift your focus towards the people and spending time connecting with each of them. The more time you spend talking to others, the less pressure you’ll feel to keep eating to fill time or to ease anxiety.

10. Stay active to help you burn off some extra calories and keep you feeling happy and energized. Aim for 30 minutes a day, and it doesn’t have to be all at once.

You’ll find all of my 10 tips for avoiding holiday weight gain in this YouTube video!

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