11 Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

Published on 
November 5, 2014

Dr.Wood-DiabetesTipsFor most families, October ends in a whirlwind of sugar gluttony. Soon after, November lends us another opportunity for gluttony known as Thanksgiving. To counterbalance our mad dash of festive over indulging, November also happens to be Diabetes Awareness Month. Jamie Wood MD, director of the Clinical Diabetes Program at CHLA, has put together 11 tips for your family to curb those extra holiday calories.

1. Plan your holiday menu ahead of schedule so that you will have time to search for healthier versions of your family's favorite recipes

2. Incorporate a family activity that will get everybody moving. Examples: A long walk after Thanksgiving dinner A family flag football game before a big meal

3. Trick or trade. At the end of the holiday season allow the kids to "trade-in" their candy for a toy, gift, special activity like movies with a friend, or then they can donate the candy to a special cause (mail it to the troops).

4. Be a positive example for friends, family and neighbors by offering healthy alternatives to the holiday classics.  For example, offer fresh fruits and veggies along side the not so healthy options

5. Don't skip meals. This leads to overeating at the next meal.

6. Drink a tall glass of water before each meal, you will feel fuller and eat less.

7. Use smaller plates for meal time. We all have the tendency to fill our plates, so we will eat less if we use smaller plates

8. Turn off the TV. When eating, sit down around a table with friends and family and turn off the TV. Conversation will slow your eating down. We all eat more when we eat in front of the TV. Another technique to slow down is to consciously put down your fork in between each bite and chew slowly.

9. Stay away from sugar-based drinks. Sugary beverages are a huge source of extra calories and carbohydrates.  Make homemade flavored water by adding mint, lemon, cucumber, strawberry, kiwi, or a combination to a pitcher of water in the fridge.

10. Moderation, moderation, moderation. Don't completely deprive yourselves of your favorite holiday food. Try to cook a healthier version, but allowing yourself to indulge with a small portion (moderation) occasionally will likely prevent you from overdoing it.

11. Everybody in the family should follow the same meal plan. If there is one person who is working on achieving a healthy weight or has diabetes and should be eating a certain way, to be supportive of that, so should the rest of the family.

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