With the holidays around the corner, you know what that means! We’re headed for multi-day celebrations with loved ones that includes plenty of gluttony. When it comes toChristmas feasting, you don’t have to completely derail your habits if you know how to eat healthy for the holidays! Yes, you can still enjoy your favorites while focusing on moderation and trying alternative options for Christmas healthy foods that’ll help you stay on track without overdoing it.
There are lots of healthy Christmas party foods you can feel good about (that are still delicious!) during the festive season. No need to get down about the healthiest Christmas foods being bland or flavorless; this simply isn’t true! I’ve got your healthy Christmas eating tips so you can enjoy Christmas feasting without any guilt.
Healthy Christmas Eating Tips
The word “healthy” isn’t usually associated with Christmas—let’s change that! There are a few small things you can do to significantly reduce the amount of fat and calories you eat (and drink!) this holiday season. It’s all about balance and moderation when it comes to healthy and satisfying Christmas feasting.
Tip #1: Eat Something Small Before the Party
You’re more likely to overindulge if you show up to the holiday dinner completely famished. Instead, have a few healthy snacks before heading over, so you don’t go straight for the food table and eat more than your stomach can handle.
Tip #2: Load Up on Fruits and Veggies
Look for the platters that have fruits and vegetables, or take an extra serving of salad as your side dish. This way, you can fill up on healthy starters and sides but still allow yourself a little room for the less healthy options. If possible, avoid vegetables that have been soaked in savory cream sauces or butter.
Tip #3: Stand Away from the Food Table
When you’re spending time socializing with friends and family, stand or sit somewhere that doesn’t have food in easy reach. If you’re near the food table chatting away, it’s easy to keep picking up snacks and eating mindlessly while you’re distracted.
Tip #4: Choose Your Food Options Wisely
Most holiday parties have a buffet-style selection where you can choose how much and what you put on your plate. Instead of going down the line and adding one of everything to your plate, walk the buffet first to see what your options are. Then go back and make conscious choices on which are the best options to put on your plate.
Tip #5: Wait Before Going for Seconds
It takes a few minutes before your body will process that you’re full. Once you finish your first serving, wait about ten minutes and then see if you still feel hungry. Drink some water, and if you still don’t feel satisfied, it’s okay to go back for seconds—just don’t overdo it!
Tip # 6: Be Conscious of What You’re Drinking
A seemingly harmless glass of eggnog can actually set you back hundreds of calories – yikes! Think before you reach for it if that’s really where you want to dedicate your Christmas calories.
If you do enjoy drinking alcohol, try to pace yourself. It can increase your appetite and lower your ability to control how much and what you eat. Have sparkling water or flavored seltzer in between alcoholic drinks to slow your roll.
Christmas Healthy Food Alternatives for Classic Favorites
If you know me, you know I love making healthy versions of my favorite foods to feel good from the inside out (check out my superfood healthy Christmas cookie recipes!). When it comes time to bring a dish to a party, host your own dinner, or make food at home, there are plenty of healthy Christmas party foods you can prepare.
Here are some healthier swaps for your traditional options:
Mashed Cauliflower instead of Mashed Potatoes
Using cauliflower instead of potatoes lowers the calorie and carb count on this classic dish. It’s also more nutrient-dense, so get that extra helping! The secret here lies in how you flavor them, so they’ll taste just as good.
Oven Roasted Turkey instead of Oven Roasted Ham
Leaner meats such as turkey tend to have fewer calories and fat while still supplying protein. Ham is much higher in sodium. If you’re looking to follow a low-sodium diet due to heart health or blood pressure issues, stay clear of ham and other cured meats and head towards the turkey or lean proteins.
Pumpkin Pie instead of Pecan Pie
When you’re ready to indulge and can’t resist having a slice of pie for dessert, reach for the pumpkin pie instead of pecan. It has fewer calories and also provides more nutrients from the pumpkin, such as beta carotene, vitamin E, and iron.
Fresh Fruit instead of Dried Fruit
If you want a sweet treat without increasing your sugar intake too much, go for fresh fruit over dried fruits. Fresh fruits are more nutrient-dense since the drying process removes some of the nutrients like vitamin C. Dried fruits also often have added sugar and oils that won’t do your diet any favors.
The Way of K
Eating healthy is only part of the equation when it comes to not gaining weight over the holiday season. While many people focus on the type and amount of food that they’re consuming, they often neglect to follow some key recommendations regarding the digestive process.
Recommendation # 1: Chew Food Slowly and Carefully
We all get excited when it comes to our favorite foods. Rather than savoring each bite, we often find ourselves shoveling large amounts of food into our mouths at once. However, the body isn’t designed to break down large chunks of food. Meticulously chewing your food can help prevent any fermentation or decay that may occur in the stomach.
Recommendation # 2: Avoid Drinking While Eating
We’re very accustomed to drinking water, soda, or alcoholic beverages with our meals. It’s almost become second nature to us at this point. However, mixing liquids with food can dilute the gastric juices in the stomach that are essential to digestion. The one exception to this rule, believe it or not, is drinking wine! The amount of acidity in wine can help the stomach break down food. This doesn’t mean that you should go drinking wine with every meal!
Recommendation # 3: Pay Close Attention to Your Body
Did you know that burping is actually your body’s way of conveying important information? Our mind might not know when we’ve had enough to eat, but our body does. Burping often occurs when the stomach has reached its capacity to comfortably digest food. Pay attention to what your body is trying to physically tell you.
Christmas Feasting Minus the Guilt
Know that you can treat yourself this holiday season! Allow yourself to enjoy your favorites that you only eat this time of year. The key is moderation, pacing yourself, and making smart choices. If you found yourself indulging a bit too much this holiday season, start off the new year with a fasting detox to get back on track.
If you’ve enjoyed these healthy Christmas eating tips, make sure to follow me on Instagram to keep up with my healthy living lifestyle and travel adventures!