Building on my blog post in October – Healthy Eating for Thanksgiving I want to share some tips to keep you on track with healthy eating and activity in December. So many people look at this time of year as an opportunity to indulge and abandon sensible eating and activity habits, then to overreact in January by piling on the “diet” patterns (short term fix) and joining every fitness class in sight….Why?

Observing people last evening at my first Christmas party of the season, I didn’t notice much over indulging. There were many healthy choices such as fruit kabobs, endive scoop with crab filling and whole, artisan cheeses with minimally processed crackers. Thinking about it on the drive home, that group of friends is very mindful about their health and their activity level and it was evident that will carry through the holiday season.

Tips to stay on track

At Home

    • Throughout the festive season, drink lots of water. It’ll help you feel fuller, so you’re less tempted to fill up with too much food and you’ll feel better staying hydrated.
    • Cut down on the variety of baking. Choose to bake items that are most connected with the traditions of Christmas for you and your family. Make less, so that you won’t have leftovers until the end of January.
    • At Work
    • Have staff bring in holiday baking on specific days agreed on by everyone instead of having it around all the time.
    • Replace sweets with healthy holiday snacks such as fruit baskets or a box of mandarins. They look just as festive and they’re healthier.
    • Before and At the Party
    • Don’t skip meals in anticipation of a feast. In fact, if the event starts late, it is wise to have a small snack (e.g. a yogurt and a piece of fruit) in the afternoon. This reduces the inclination to overeat the appetizers. Going to a holiday party famished leads to overeating.
    • Many appetizers such as cheese balls, sausage rolls and mini quiches are high in fat, sodium and calories. If you choose to enjoy the appetizers, take a couple of special ones and then nibble on raw veggies.
    • Alcohol may add to the holiday festivities, but it also adds a lot of empty calories. To reduce calories have a vodka with club soda (which is calorie free) or cranberry juice. Have only one glass of a great red wine, and then have sparkling water with lemon for the rest of the party.
    • Skip the common junk food, the chips, dip and the processed, frozen desserts that pack a wallop of uninteresting calories.
    • Enjoy desserts in small portions. Take a little piece of a special dessert or a couple of your favourite Christmas cookies.
    • Activity
    • Make time for staying active.
    • Activity and exercise will help give you more energy, allow you to deal better with the inevitable holiday stress, and help you maintain your weight.
    • Plan walks with friends and family at night to see all the Christmas lights in your neighbourhood.

Be realistic and remember that the holidays are for celebrating, after all. One indulgent party, an extra glass of wine or enjoying a high fat dessert isn’t going to make or break your overall routine, as long as you’re regularly making sensible food choices and staying active.