Eating Healthy for the Holidays
December 12, 2023
Thanksgiving may have already passed, but the holiday season is just getting underway – with Hanukkah this week, and Christmas, Kwanzaa and New Year's right around the corner. Staying healthy, especially with eating and nutrition, can be a concern for some people during this time. Increased holiday dinners and social events can pose opportunities to deviate away from your typical diet, often for days and weeks. Traveling and having visitors over during this time can also lead to a change in your typical exercise routine. The registered dietitians with the Denver Health Bariatric Surgery Center would like to share these nine tips to help you stay healthy this holiday season, whether you are a bariatric patient or not.
Healthy Holiday Eating Tips
- Don't skip meals. Skipping meals earlier in the day can lead to overeating later in the day. You're also more likely to choose higher calorie foods when you are overly hungry.
- Fill up on protein and fiber. Protein and fiber help keep us satisfied between mealtimes, so make sure you're including these two important nutrients.
- Socialize away from the food. We are more likely to "refill" and overeat foods like appetizers if we are standing right next to where they are being served. Get your food and move your conversation elsewhere.
- Plan your "spending" for holiday meals. There are usually many dishes at holiday meals. If each dish had a price tag and you had only so much money, where would you want to spend it? Maybe you've been waiting for those extra cheesy potatoes all year long. Or maybe you know you can easily skip a serving of that marshmallow-Jell-O casserole without being sad. Choose and consume the foods that you truly want – and enjoy them!
- Take a "sample" or "tasting bite" of each item or dish. Sometimes we would like to try everything, and that is okay too, in moderation. Whatever you take, be sure not to overfill your plate.
- Don't feel obligated to clear your plate. Sometimes this is easier said than done. Even though your stomach is telling you it's full, you feel like you must finish everything on your plate. Again, don't overfill your plate or use a smaller plate to prevent yourself from pushing past those fullness cues.
- Eat mindfully. Enjoy the tastes, textures and smells of your food.
- Keep up your physical activity as much as possible. If you're not able to stick to your typical routine, find other ways to stay active such as squeezing in some quick YouTube exercise videos, going for a walk with family and friends, or sign up for a Santa Stampede Run/Walk.
- Most importantly: enjoy your time with friends and family!
The Denver Health Bariatric Surgery Nutrition Team is made up of registered bariatric dietitians who specialize in helping adolescents and adults eat healthier before and after they have bariatric surgery. To take the first step in your weight-loss surgery journey, watch our video and fill out our form to get free information about the Denver Health Bariatric Surgery Center.