How a Dietitian Eats Over the Holidays
As I pondered what I would write for my Nutrition Focused Friday post a variety of ideas crossed my mind. But one in particular stood out – Holiday Eating. I can’t tell you how MANY articles, posts, news reports, etc have been talking about eating healthy over the holidays. To be honest…it’s getting frustrating. I know, how could I get annoyed with healthy eating tips? Well I just do. Mainly because I think some of them are ridiculous, unreasonable and not fun. And I wouldn’t want to follow them so why should I tell my patients and clients to follow them? I shouldn’t! So instead of writing yet another post on how to be super healthy over holidays, I’ll tell you how a real dietitian (who is healthy) eats.
- I eat what I want. Yes, that does come with stipulations (as you’ll see below). But overall I choose foods that I feel like eating, that I haven’t had in a while, and that I really enjoy. Yes, I’ll have those mashed potatoes with cream and butter. And end the meal with a slice of apple pie. Because I want to.
- I eat at least 2 meals a day. Even on Thanksgiving and Christmas. I don’t skip meals in the effort to save calories for one ginormous meal later on. Because when I skip breakfast or lunch, I get “hangry” – hungry/angry and then I lose the ability to control myself when meal time does come. I always have breakfast and if Christmas or Thanksgiving dinner is an “early dinner”, then I usually stick to only 2 meals.
- I have just one serving. This is one of those stipulations that comes with the “eat what I want” factor. I chose whatever I want, but allow myself to have one moderate serving. No if’s, and’s or but’s. One it is. One moderate serving, not giant serving. As a long ago family member once said – “the first bite tastes exactly the same as the last.”
- I indulge for the holiDAY. Not days. Even with the excessive amount of leftovers in our house, I stick to just 2-3 meals of “indulgence.” Dinner on Christmas eve and day and maybe a leftover lunch or two. But that’s it. If I continue to eat all those rich, high calorie foods, I usually end up feeling kinda yucky. I know and set my limits accordingly.
- I work out. This past Thanksgiving my Mom and I went for a 5 mile run before all the crazy cooking chaos began. It set off the day just right – something healthy and it gave us energy too. Keeping up the exercise can help keep you focused and keep your will power strong so you’re not tempted to over indulge.
- And I may gain a pound or two. Yea…even the health nuts gain some weight over the holidays. The important thing is make sure you get back on track the next day – that’s why I indulge for just the day, not days like in #4. I’m OK with a pound or two extra (but not much more than that!). I enjoyed myself and I know that once I get back on my regular eating pattern, that extra weight will be gone in no time.
So…that’s how I eat (and think about eating) over the holidays. Nothing too complicated! I just try to enjoy myself, my family, friends and eat good food. I hope that some of these tidbits can help put your holiday “dieting” stress at ease a bit. Just focus on enjoying life in moderation! Happy holidays!