When it comes to the holiday season, many activities revolve around the dinner table. Whether it’s a festive party with friends or Christmas meal with family, the temptations to overindulge are seemingly endless. If you struggle with healthy eating during the holidays, consider trying any of these tips to stay on course.
4 Obstacles to Healthy Holiday Eating
Understanding the causes behind not-so-healthy eating habits can be incredibly helpful in making smart decisions. While there are numerous reasons you might find the holiday season challenging, these are some of the most common culprits.
Food is Everywhere You Look
The holidays and food go hand-in-hand. There are temptations everywhere you look, ranging from bowls of candy to trays of cookies. It’s easy to casually snack and lose track of everything you’re consuming. In many cases, food is also tied to social events, adding additional pressure to overeat at these special occasions.
Strong Emotional Attachments
Unhealthy eating habits are often tied to emotions, both positive and negative. Certain dishes or flavors might stir up feelings of nostalgia. On the other hand, you might take comfort or find escape from stress by enjoying an extra slice of pie.
Making Too Many Exceptions
Gift giving is a holiday tradition, but giving yourself a free pass to eat at will can take you far off track from healthy habits. Though there’s nothing wrong with the occasional treat, it’s best done in moderation. Be cognizant of how regularly you make exceptions to your diet and try to limit them as much as possible. A little discipline can make a big difference.
Beating Yourself Up
No one is perfect. It’s only human to have an extra bite here or there. When things do get off course, don’t be too hard on yourself. When you beat yourself up about the occasional mistake, it only compounds the problems and draws them out. Instead, use these slip-ups as a helpful reminder of your healthy-eating priorities. It’s actually an opportunity to examine your actions and seek ways to improve in the future.
5 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating
As an older adult, the impacts of balanced diet and nutrition are felt more than ever. If you find the holiday season especially challenging, there are steps you can take to maintain your healthy habits. As you navigate the holiday parties and meals, keep these five helpful tips for healthy eating in mind.
1. Don’t Save Calories
When it comes to healthy eating, skipping meals or saving calories doesn’t work in your favor. In fact, it can often compound issues. Arriving at a meal or holiday party on an empty stomach frequently leads to overeating because you’re ravenously hungry. In this state, you don’t make smart choices and the damage is done before you know it. Try having a small healthy snack like nuts, fruit or yogurt prior to the event. This will keep your appetite in check and help you make better eating decisions.
2. Practice Moderation
During the holidays there are so many delicious options to choose from. Luckily, you don’t have to miss out on any of them if you practice moderation. Rather than piling your plate sky-high on the first helping, take a small sampling of everything you want to try. This way you don’t feel obligated to finish a massive meal and can pick and choose where you want to spend those extra calories.
3. Try Intuitive Eating
In the most basic terms, intuitive eating means you listen to your body about which food choices make you feel full or satisfied. You don’t need to worry about labeling foods good or bad. However, you should trust your instincts and skip that extra helping you know you’ll regret later. It can take the brain 10-15 minutes to catch up with the stomach, so make sure to take a break between servings. You might find with a short break your body tells you something different than it did just a few minutes prior.
4. Bring a Healthy Dish
If you’re concerned a holiday event you’re attending won’t have any healthy options, take matters into your own hands. Identify some wholesome foods you enjoy eating and your body appreciates. This helps take some of the pressure off, providing a safety net you know you can count on for healthy eating. You might be surprised how many people appreciate having a fresh salad or vegetable tray to counterbalance all of the rich and heavy dishes associated with the holidays.
5. Add In Exercise
In the midst of the busy holiday season, you can fall out of your healthy routines before you know it. While healthy eating habits are essential, they should also be accompanied by regular exercise to maintain balance. This doesn’t mean you have to find time to hit the gym every day. As an alternative, take a 15-20 minute walk after your meal. It not only helps you burn built up calories, it also provides an opportunity to catch up with loved ones along the way. This little bit of extra exercise also has benefits ranging from improved mood to better sleep at night.
How Beacon Hill Promotes Healthy Eating
At Beacon Hill we understand the needs of each individual are unique. With a priority on wellness, our community offers chef-led dining venues that cater to the preferences of each resident. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are crafted with fresh, nutritious ingredients that work to support the overall health goals of residents. Take a look at our sample menu to see an example of the options that are carefully curated each day.
We know our community life at Beacon Hill is special, but our dedicated team wants to show you all the reasons why. If this sounds like a good fit for you or a loved one, please contact us at your convenience to learn more. We’re thrilled to show you around our convenient Lombard, IL location and answer any questions you might have.