10 tips for healthy holiday eating

Please, don’t stress out over the idea that you might gain a couple of pounds over the holidays. Many of us do. The National Institutes of Health estimates holiday eating results in an average gain of one to two pounds.

Eneida O. Roldan, M.D.

Eneida O. Roldan, M.D.

Even if you do overindulge, Dr. Eneida Roldan, CEO of FIU Health, says those few extra pounds should start coming off as you go back to your normal eating routine.

“However, if you are not careful, over time holiday weight gain can start adding up,” says Dr. Roldan, an expert in weight management and obesity. “So, if you want to be proactive, be mindful of your holiday eating habits.”

Here are 10 tips from Dr. Roldan for a healthy holiday season.

1. Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals will only make you overeat the wrong types of foods adding high calories. It is especially bad if you go to a holiday party hungry.
2. Do skip mixed drinks. They are loaded with sugar, high calories, and increase your hunger. Drink in moderation, and for every alcoholic drink, add an extra glass of water.
3. Drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. During cooler weather, you may not feel thirsty as much, but don’t be fooled, you still need to hydrate. This will also help with the excess salt from holiday meals.
4. Go easy on the salt. Hors d’oeuvres tend to be salty—have them in moderation.
5. Eat small portions. There’s no need to pass up your favorite holiday treats, just don’t stuff yourself. Stop once you’re satisfied.
6. When you go shopping, take along healthy snacks such as protein bars. This will keep you from being tempted by festive, fattening, holiday foods.
7. Park far away from the stores, and walk. Get those 10,000-12,000 steps daily. Don’t use elevators or escalators. Use the stairs.
8. Buy yourself an activity tracker bracelet so you can chart your physical activity. It’s a great motivator.
9. Get 6-8 hours of good sleep. Holidays are exhausting and stressful. You need the rest. Sleep deprivation causes elevation in hormones that stimulate appetite and increase hunger—a bad combination.
10. Don’t worry, be happy. Stress is one of the main reasons why people overeat. Keep negative thoughts at bay, and ENJOY these special holidays with your friends and family.