Nutritional Advice from Seattle's Alliance Healing Arts
Seattle Dietitian Kathleen Bundy eases holiday eating concerns
Holiday festivities set the stage for New Year's resolutions! Surrounded by sweets, treats, and holiday parties we often overindulge and can sabotage any previous weight loss or healthy habits we have adopted.
Afraid of Over-Eating This Holiday?
Here are some tips for keeping your eating healthy and within reasonable limits:
First, generally healthy eating tips apply- such as surrounding yourself with healthy food and keeping junk out of the house. Make low calorie snacks and treats readily available both at home and at work. If you are well-nourished you are less likely to be tempted by treats. Keep fresh fruit and vegetables, raw nuts, whole grain crackers, deli slices (nitrate-free), and low fat yogurt or cottage cheese on hand.
Of course there will be times when loved ones or friends bring over baked goods and workplaces are likely filled with treats brought by well-meaning co-workers. It is important to cultivate balance in your life and do away with all or nothing thinking! You CAN enjoy some treats, but it is essential to keep in mind a couple of basic principles, these are portion sizes, mindful eating, self monitoring, and balance. Portion size is essential; a piece of cake should be not more than 2"x2" and a serving of ice cream is one scoop! Mindful eating means not being distracted while enjoying food; it means chewing well, tasting, appreciating anything you put in your mouth, and being aware of your levels of hunger and satisfaction. Self-monitoring and balance fit into the same behavior of living in "the grey zone". If you deny yourself, you are likely to fail and then binge; if you allow yourself to enjoy some treats, be cautious and then adjust your eating the rest of the day. Enjoy a treat in a reasonable portion, sit with your food, and enjoy. Any cravings that make you reach for a second portion will likely abate in 5 minutes if you allow yourself some time and take deep breathes. At work, set a good example and bring healthy treats such as seasonal fruit (mandarin oranges, persimmons) or savory, low calorie treats like bruschetta with fresh tomato and basil. Again, practice mindful eating and don't eat at your desk! Enjoy your treat and know when to stop.
You may want to set limits for yourself such as having a treat 3 or 4 times a week. Take that limit seriously, choose a treat you really love and take a break to enjoy it thoroughly.
If you are accustomed to baking cookies and cakes as holiday gifts and end up enjoying too many yourself, get creative! You can make bath salts, herbed vinegars, and other crafts to share with loved ones. Real Simple has some good ideas for gift giving:
During holiday dinners, avoid the expanding waist line and that bloated feeling by focusing on vegetables, taking your time, and chewing well. Always fill up at least half of your plate with vegetables before choosing your protein and finally lay down the starchy foods. If you know you go for seconds, have a small, vegetable heavy plate to begin with and give yourself some time before burning all those calories to get back to the buffet! Taking some time and some deep breathes can help cravings.
Never leave the house hungry or thirsty; before you leave, have a big glass of water and a piece of fruit, or something light like a bowl of soup. At holiday parties, make sure you survey the appetizer line before you dig in. Pick out the low calorie options such as veggies fruit, veggie bruschettas, hummus, meats, and any whole grain crackers. Fill up your plate with these first, eat slowly, and enjoy. Alcoholic beverages can contribute more additional calories than you might realize, decide to enjoy one or two drinks if you and sip water or seltzer in between
Know what your holiday time triggers for overeating are and do some creative problem solving. Be ready for scenarios that may lead to overindulging. Remember, never get to hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT)! Try to identify some of these emotional states that my trigger your emotional eating and create alternatives for avoiding the scenario or dealing with the situation.
Keep exercising. Even just a 30 minute walk in between dinner and dessert is sure to have benefits.
Enjoy yourself, enjoy delicious food mindfully, practice stress-relief activities, and keep moving!
Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or need more tips.
Kathleen Bundy - email@example.com
Nutritional Services currently offered at Alliance Healing Arts' Seattle Clinic: