The holidays are the most difficult time of the year when it comes to overeating and following a nutritious diet. The collective mindset at this time of year is that New Year’s resolutions are coming up and I can just start a new diet again next year. These end-of-the-year holidays are all within a 62-day period. First is Halloween, then Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then New Years. So, overeating and bingeing is common and amplified around this time of year. All these holidays are focused on friends and family, which usually means they are centered around food. Eating a balanced diet during these food-filled months can be easy if you follow these three tips and tricks.
Bring a nutritious dish to the holiday functions or host the gathering yourself
If you are going to celebrate a holiday at your family’s house, take a fall or winter salad, a hearty soup, or fruit dessert. This will add nutrients to your plate without sacrificing flavor. If you decide you would like to host, make some nutritious main dishes and vegetable sides. Ask your guests to bring some of their favorite dishes as well. This ensures you will have good and nourishing food for everyone.
Try to build your plate like a “MyPlate”
Make ½ of your plate fruits and veggies, ¼ of your plate proteins, and ¼ of your plate grains. Have some dairy on the side as well. This can be easier than you think. Here are some examples of a MyPlate holiday meal.
Thanksgiving – ½ cup green beans, 1 cup fall salad, 4 oz (1/4 plate) turkey, ¼ cup stuffing, ¼ cup mashed potatoes, ¼ cup of snacks from the cheese plate.
Christmas – 4 oz (1/4 plate) of ham, ¼ cup corn, ¼ cup mashed potatoes, 1 Tbsp gravy, ½ cup of roasted vegetables, 1 gingerbread cookie.
Don’t skip breakfast and lunch to make more room for dinner
It is so easy to do this before the holidays. You will not eat at all to “save room” for dinner later. This can cause extreme overeating, accompanied with discomfort. Eat breakfast and lunch like normal, then eat a normal sized dinner. You can always take leftovers home if you did not get to try everything, or if you want something more to eat later.
Mariah Baugh, Dietetic Intern
Northwest Missouri State University