3 Ways to Prioritize Healthy Ingredients Over the Holidays (While Still Enjoying the Seasonal Foods You Love), According to an RD

EMany families have unique holiday food traditions—you know, like the cookies your sister-in-law only makes once a year or the huggable mac and cheese.

No matter what you’re hoping to eat, one thing’s for sure: Holiday celebrations often revolve around foods you don’t have on rotation, which can make it difficult for you to prioritize the nutritious ingredients that are also needed. of your body.

But, the importance of fitting in healthy meals shouldn’t be underestimated during a busy schedule of pot-luck dinners and cocktail parties, says Michelle Cardel, PhD, RD, head of clinical research and nutrition at Weight Watchers.

“Finding ways to incorporate healthy foods into your holiday routine is important to help you stay energized, nourished, and on track with your health goals,” says Dr. Cardel. “By balancing healthy food choices with your favorite holiday meals, you can create a sustainable and satisfying eating strategy throughout this season, without compromising how you feel and your goals in health.”

Dr.’s greatest advice Cardel? Remember that all foods can be included in a healthy diet. That’s why the WeightWatchers Points Program—a great tool to use during the holiday season to support your well-being—keeps all the foods on the menu and helps guide you toward healthier meals, not just the ones that are more nutritious. low in calories.

Do you want to prioritize staying healthy during back-to-back festivities? Follow these three healthy holiday eating tips from Dr. Cardel.

1. Plan ahead

This holiday season, your calendar will be your best friend. Plan a time to sit down and look at the dates of various events. When you know you’re going somewhere your favorite holiday foods will be plentiful, be sure to eat (or prepare a meal if you’re feeling Really organized) at-home meals full of energizing, healthy ingredients for earlier in the day so you feel your best, most small-talk-ready later.

“Give yourself the flexibility to enjoy your favorite seasonal foods by planning ahead,” says Dr. Cardel. “For example, if you have a holiday gathering in the evening, start your day with healthy WeightWatchers program ZeroPoint foods that fuel your body, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins, during breakfast and lunch.”

2. Bring healthy options to gatherings

News flash: Healthy holiday eating doesn’t have to be boring. Try some new recipes to bring to the festivities, like this delicious Brussels sprout salad or these adorable apple-ginger mini pies so you know you have a healthy option to add to your plate. You’d be surprised how many people appreciate a palate cleanser to break down heavier dishes.

“[Bringing a healthy dish] will ensure that a nutritious option is available amid the holiday spread, allowing you to pair it with your favorite holiday meal for a healthy balance,” says Dr. Cardel.

Dr. also recommends Cardel tries the USDA’s MyPlate method, aka fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables or fruits, a quarter of your plate with protein, and the remaining quarter of your plate with grains. (Don’t forget to leave room for dessert afterward, of course.)

3. Embrace mindful eating

When you’re at a party with a plate of food in hand and distracted by the (interesting) chaos around you, it can be easy to eat more than your stomach can handle, which can lead to panicking, unbuttoning -pants-immediate discomfort .

This holiday season, try mindful eating—or use all your physical and emotional senses to experience and enjoy the food in front of you. Savor every bite, pay attention to your body’s cues, and let go of judgment as you follow the mind-eating model.

“Through practice [the mindful eating] With this approach, you can become more aware of your eating habits, and recognize when you’re full before filling another plate,” says Dr. Cardel. Now you’ll feel your best. and have your fest too.

Want to see how WeightWatchers can help support your stay nourished this holiday season? Click here to get three months free!

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