With the holiday season around the corner, it’s time to start planning a healthy eating strategy. Although the holidays already involve enough planning – from scheduling and decorating, to shopping and cooking – it’s important to plan ahead for ways to handle all the extra food and drinks that will inevitably come your way throughout the season.

Follow our tips below and you’ll be well prepared to celebrate guilt-free.

Avoid Skipping Meals

Many people make the mistake of skipping meals on the day of a holiday party so they can consume more calories at the event. But skipping meals isn’t only unhealthy; it leads to overeating and making poor food choices.

Consuming small meals and snacks throughout the day is part of a healthy eating plan on any given day, party or no party. By eating this way, your blood sugar levels remain stable and your appetite is kept at bay, enabling you to practice restraint when needed.

Be Mindful

The most important thing to practice is being mindful whenever you’re making food choices, as well as while you’re eating. It’s perfectly fine to indulge here and there – it’s the holidays after all – but if you’re paying attention, you’ll be able to do so in a smart way.

You’ll choose a portion just big enough to be satisfying, instead of mindlessly piling up your plate. And you’ll actually taste and appreciate your food, instead of eating a ton and then realizing you didn’t even enjoy it.

Search Out Healthy Offerings

When you first arrive at a party, take the time to survey the food options before digging in. Although there may be plenty of unhealthy foods, there are also likely to be healthier choices available. Load up on salad and fresh fruits and vegetables, while taking smaller portions of richer foods.

Choose Ingredients Wisely

When you carefully choose ingredients for your holiday food preparations, you’ll be able to keep your dishes on the healthier side. For example, prepare traditional stuffing with whole wheat or whole grain breads, rather than white bread. Substitute whole-wheat flour in place of all-purpose flour in your favorite baking recipes. And cook with healthy fats, like ghee, instead of butter.

Limit Cocktail Consumption

We all know how quickly the empty calories in alcoholic beverages add up. To be able to enjoy a few cocktails throughout the season without overdoing it, add some mineral water or seltzer to your favorite cocktail – or have a glass of water or seltzer in between cocktails.

Treat Yourself to Dessert

Although there are some individuals who just aren’t “dessert people”, most of us enjoy a sweet treat now and then. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t deprive yourself over the holidays! Opt for healthier dessert options that are centered around fresh fruit, or take a small portion of a must-have dessert.

Enjoy the Season!

Don’t forget to enjoy all that the season has to offer. While food and drinks are certainly a great part of the festivities, holiday celebrations are not just about eating. Focus on the cheerful, giving spirit of the season and enjoy spending time with your family, friends, and colleagues.

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