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Navigating Nutrition During the Holidays

Happy Thanksgiving week! As we get into the holiday season, I want to touch on a concern that many people struggle with: How do I stay on track with my nutrition goals during the holidays?

It can be difficult to navigate eating during this time with so many social gatherings, having a lack of control over the food being served, or pressure from friends & family to eat a certain way. Below are some ways to help you find balance and navigate nutrition this holiday season.

Focus on a balanced plate. Enjoy all your favorite holiday dishes while being mindful of portion size. Fill half your plate with vegetables/fruit, a quarter with grains/starchy carbohydrates, and a quarter with protein. It is not about maintaining a perfect balance, but rather having the intention to eat in a way that makes you feel your best.

Don't skip meals. Many people might think to skip meals to “save up” calories for later. If you skip out on breakfast or lunch, you will likely feel ravenously hungry by the time you sit down for the big holiday meal. This tends to lead to overeating & increases feelings of physical discomfort after your meal. Instead, eat a nutrient-rich meal in the morning consisting of protein, fiber, & healthy fats (such as a smoothie, oatmeal, or eggs & toast).

Be mindful of high-calorie beverages. Holiday meals are typically paired with sugar-sweetened and alcoholic beverages. These can quickly increase total caloric intake & impact inflammation in the body.

Eat mindfully. Mindless eating can cause you to eat past the point of fullness or eat foods just because they are around, even if you may not want them. Try your best to check in with yourself during meals and listen to your hunger and fullness cues. Throughout the day, grazing on food can become tempting with all the treats and leftovers lying around. Try to stick to your normal eating routine of meals and a few snacks.

Last, but certainly not least…

Enjoy the holiday! One meal or day of eating is not going to derail all the progress you have made. Food is meant to be more than fuel. It is perfectly fine to savor your Grandparents' famous sweet potatoes or Aunt’s pumpkin pie. Remember, your body knows how to digest all the food you will consume this holiday season. Focus on enjoying your meal, and eating until you are satisfied versus stuffed.

Nutritionist Arlington VA

Reach out if you are interested in working with a Dietitian to help guide you through balanced nutrition both during and after this holiday season.


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