November 16, 2017

Habits for a Healthy Holiday Season & Beyond

Live Healthy

‘Tis the season when healthy habits fly out the door. After all, the holidays are a time to eat, drink and be merry, right? 

It can be difficult to eat as well as we should during the holidays, but you can make several small adjustments in your eating and activity habits to stay on the right track. 

Here, experts from Straub Medical Center's Ornish Lifestyle Program offer advice for a happy, healthy holiday season

  • Go on, indulge a little. If you have a special family dinner or work event to attend, allow yourself to have your favorite foods – just be mindful of portion size.
    Take small amounts of your favorite foods and savor every bite. Prevent overeating by continuing to eat well-balanced meals throughout the day.
  • Think twice before going for seconds. Wait at least 20 minutes before deciding to go back for more. Twenty is the magic number of minutes it takes your brain to register your stomach has reached its fullness capacity.
  • Limit alcohol. Alcohol can lower inhibitions and encourage overeating, and mixed drinks can be high in calories and sugar. Enjoy one drink a day if you’re a woman, two drinks if you’re a man, then switch to water or seltzer flavored with fresh fruit.
  • Stay active. Plan for activity either before or after a big meal to help burn off extra calories.
    Exercise also is a great way to reduce stress. If you have diabetes, activity after eating can help lower elevated blood sugars.
  • Shift the focus from food. Instead, take time to catch up with relatives you see once a year or friends you haven’t seen since high school. Spending time with loved ones is the reason for the season, after all.
  • Limit your holiday eating to the actual holiday. Don’t go home with leftovers! If you can’t say no, try sharing them with a neighbor in need, or freeze them into smaller portions to eater later on a busy night.