By Kate Myerson, RDN, CD, CDCES, Lamoille Health Dietician
It’s important to strike a balance during the holiday season. You want to enjoy yourself, but you need to be healthy, too.
1. Holiday foods might not be the healthiest — that’s OK
We don’t have to approach the holidays with an all-or-nothing mindset. Don’t think: “Either I’m on-track or off-track.” This type of black-and-white, good-or-bad thinking tends to swing back and forth toward the extremes. You might find yourself skipping a meal then having a large meal. You might eat only a salad then later you binge on holiday candies.
Instead, try to find the middle ground. Enjoy a slice of pie with a nice balanced meal with family or friends, plan a healthy lunch or snack with your holiday treats. You’ll feel better physically and mentally if you’re neither missing out nor completely stuffed.
2. Incorporate some mindful eating with your holiday treats
Mindful eating is eating without judgment. So instead of focusing on calories or sugar, focus on how the food tastes, the texture, the aroma. And while you’re at it, check in with how your body feels.
- Are you starting to feel full?
- Do you need a break?
Give yourself permission to enjoy more good food later rather than telling yourself to finish a whole plate of food now because you’ve already blown it. There are many health conditions that can benefit from mindfully incorporating treats instead of restricting and then binging on them.
3. Incorporate a fruit or veggie with every meal
Fruits and veggies may not be as plentiful in the winter months as they are in the summer, but don’t write them off. You can add frozen fruit to a smoothie or oatmeal. Make your own charcuterie plate for lunch or snack with a mix of cheese, crackers, veggies, meat, or nuts.
Plan on having greens at the beginning of the week and hearty root veggies or squash towards the end of the week. Remember to keep some frozen veggies on-hand to add them to dinner when time is tight. If you’d like to have more veggies than you feel you can afford, ask us about the Bounty Share veggie box that we offer to eligible community members in partnership with Salvation Farms.
4. Beware of the diet culture, especially this time of year
Be aware of the sneaky judgmental voice telling you you’re not eating enough kale or doing enough cross training. It’s telling you that your diet is really a “healthy lifestyle” that you must follow every second of your day.
Think about the number of diets or “lifestyle changes” you’ve done over the years. Now think about whether you are any healthier. How would you talk to your child or friend, and what you would encourage them to do? How would you encourage them to eat right? That voice is probably a lot kinder and has a lot more common sense. Follow that kinder voice instead!
5. Remember that people come in many shapes and sizes
If you’re someone who struggles with an eating problem or find yourself obsessing about your body, take time to give yourself some extra TLC this holiday season. Being compassionate and gentle with yourself around these issues can be much more helpful for healing your relationship with food and your body than beating yourself up.
It’s okay to be who you are. You are the only you there is, and that’s a wonderful thing!
6. Schedule a physical or talk to one of our dietitians
Have you ever avoided coming into the office because you’re dreading getting on the scale? We get it. We don’t want you avoiding coming in to see us because of the scale. You are a real person with unique qualities — not a number.
There may be reasons why tracking your weight might be helpful, especially if you have certain health conditions. But ultimately, we want to see you, no matter what the scale says. We want 2022 to be the year you take care of yourself.
Reach out today to schedule an appointment.