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5 Tips For Making Healthy Decisions Over the Holidays

I absolutely love the holidays! It is such a blissful, carefree time of the year. Unfortunately though, it is also the time when many of us find ourselves in the presence of so much incredible food. A laid-back approach to what we eat over the holidays leaves many of us overly-stuffed with massive quantities of bread, cranberry sauce, gravy, meat dishes, veggie dishes, eggnog, rich chocolate cakes, pumpkin pies, and cookies shaped like snowmen. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind when confronted with tasty holiday treats:

1. Veggie and fruit dishes are your best friends.
Green bean casserole has always been one of my favorite holiday dishes—it’s savory, rich, and absolutely delectable! The best part about green bean casserole is that it is probably one of the healthiest dishes of the entire feast so make sure to load up on the vegetables. Veggies and fruit contain fiber and nutrients, so not only will they fill you up, they will also provide nourishment for your body.

2. Indulge! But do not overindulge.

There is no need to pass upthe gravy, stuffing, cranberry sauce, or scrumptious deserts if you want to maintain your figure. Just have a little bit of them without going overboard. That way you will feel like you “had it all!” without feeling guilty when the meal is over. It is not such a great idea to single-handedly finish off the entire bowl of high-calorie cranberry sauce. Instead, stick with a single serving—one to two spoonfuls of gravy and cranberry sauce, and about a tennis-ball amount of stuffing should do the trick.
3. Enjoy what you’re eating!
Pay attention to your food! Enjoy each and every bite. Often, we get distracted and shovel platefuls of well-prepared food into our mouths without registering the rich flavors and enjoying the experience. We turn our attention away from the food on our plates in order to avoid the guilty feeling of eating more than our bodies actually require us to eat, however by averting our attention, we ultimately end up eating more anyways, yet we miss out on the experience.
4. Stop eating when you are full—leftovers are your friends.
It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to send a message to your brain that it’s full. If you eat too much too quickly, then you may risk overloading your body with more calories than it can utilize. The living room couch will become your permanent home following the feast if you eat to this extent. Falling asleep immediately after a huge meal is a good way to send a signal to your body that it should store all of those extra calories for later (i.e. in your fat cells). I for one am not aiming to do that.

5. Stay Active!
Go on a walk after a delicious meal. Play an exhilarating game of charades with your family or attend a yoga class. Whatever you do, staying active over the holidays will, at the very least, give you something else to do besides eat all of those yummy cookies, tarts, and leftovers. At best, it will keep your metabolism up and allow your body to utilize all of the calories you have given it.

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