7 Hacks to Eat Smarter During the Holidays

Tips to eat better while enjoying the holiday season.

Friends enjoying Christmas dinner together.

(Ground Picture/ Shutterstock.com)

The holiday season is already here. It’s the time of the year to enjoy festive meals, parties and being surrounded with friends and family. With all the decadent dishes that adorn Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas tables, offices, and homes, it’s also the time when many people get lax about healthy eating.

While most people tend to overindulge, don’t despair, cautions Everyday Health, you can still make smarter choices and eat healthy this season. “Overeating a bit over the holidays is very normal and not something to freak out about,” Rachael Hartley, RD, the owner of Rachael Hartley Nutrition and author of Gentle Nutrition told Everyday Health.

“We have food-related celebrations and connections, and sometimes eating a little more than you normally would is a fun part of celebrating.” Here are seven hacks to help you make smarter, more mindful eating choices while still enjoying all the holidays have to offer.

It’s OK to cheat 
You don’t have to be perfect, its ok to cheat a little, suggests The Cleveland Clinic Health Essentials. You can allow yourself to eat a small serving of a treasured holiday dish or dessert but not every day. So indulge in your grandmother’s holiday pie but skip other unhealthy dishes.

Find healthier alternatives
Eating healthy doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your treasured family dishes, according to Healthline, modify them instead. You can use less butter, swap yogurt for mayo, and bake chicken or fish instead of frying. If you have to fry, try using one of these healthier oils.

Homemade instead of processed 
Homemade foods are much healthier than canned, processed, or premade ones that usually contain excess salt, and sugar. Making food from scratch gives you control over what you are eating. So skip the canned cranberry sauce or store-bought baked goods, and take control over what you eat.

Load up the veggies
Start your meals off with salads or healthy appetizers like a vegetable plate with a hummus dip. Serve more vegetables on your dinner table. You can swap mashed cauliflower for potatoes, or serve roasted carrots or sweet potatoes instead of candied.

Focus on socializing at a party 
With holiday parties galore, focus on socializing instead of making a beeline for the buffet. Conversations, according to Cleveland Health, are calorie free, so mingle. Stand more than you sit, and pick the healthiest choices like salads and fresh fruits.

Get moving
Take a walk after a heavy holiday meal. Up your exercise routine by increasing your workouts. Instead of exercising for 30 minutes, increase it five to 10 minutes, and if you usually workout three times a week, try to add an additional day.

The season for moderation
Moderation is the key to navigating the holiday season, stressed Healthline. So enjoy the festive meals and parties but eat healthy before.  Have a healthy breakfast like avocado toast or overnight  oats so you are not starved for a festive lunch. If you eat healthy the rest of the days you can still enjoy the holiday meals.

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