Guard your waistline this holiday season

GEHA | December 14, 2020

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Here are some ways to holiday-proof your eating plan.

The holiday season can be a tricky time to stay on track with healthy eating. There’s lots of food, the potential for stress, plenty of parties – hopefully virtual – and it lasts for weeks. Here are some ways to holiday-proof your eating plan.

Stick to your normal eating schedule. If a meal is served a little later than normal, eat a small snack beforehand and less at the meal. Vegetables are always a good option to take the edge off.

Find a way to make a holiday favorite a little healthier. Can it be grilled instead of fried? Can the amount of sugar in a recipe be cut in half?

Cut back on carbs like potatoes and bread during the meal if you have a sweet tooth.

Don’t skip meals to “save room” for a big meal. This will affect your blood sugar and make you more likely to overeat.

Moderation. If you are self-serving a meal, fill a small plate with your favorites, then move away from the buffet table.

Eat slowly. It takes about 20 minutes for the brain to realize the belly is full.

Don’t over-indulge. If you have an unhealthy favorite, slow down, savor a small serving and count it as part of your meal plan.

Drink water and exercise before a meal to help curb your appetite.

• If eating healthy makes you think of all the items you can’t eat, focus on the foods you can enjoy instead.

Take a walk after a meal or find another way to get moving. Being active can make up for eating more than normal and help reduce stress.

Try to get seven or eight hours of sleep each night. Sleep deprivation may lead to eating more and a preference for high-fat, high-sugar foods.

And remember, GEHA’s 24-hour Health Advice Line is staffed with registered nurses 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They are always glad to provide healthy eating strategies. Please have your member ID number handy when calling 888.257.4342.

Sources:
“Community immunity: How vaccines protect us all.” newsinhealth.nih.gov, National Institutes of Health, October, 2011.
“Create your plate: Healthy serving sizes for the holidays.” mayclinichealthsystem.org, Mayo Clinic Health System.
“10 Tips: Make healthy holiday choices.” choosemyplate.gov, U.S. Department of Agriculture, January, 2016.