’Tis the season for family, friends, and festivities. Eating smart will help you feel good, and enjoy the season.

Here are a few nutritional tips to make it through the holiday season.

1.Stay hydrated. Water is the most important fuel for your body and without it you are likely to feel weak and tired, and you’ll probably get a headache. 

  • In the morning, drink a glass of warm water with lemon or apple cider vinegar. This helps your digestive tract to get moving. Continue to drink an additional 6 to 8 glasses of water throughout the day. Keep a small bottle of water with you (small bottles are lighter and are psychologically easier to finish) and try to drink and refill around 7 more times.
  • If plain water isn’t your thing, squeeze some lemon, lime, or orange into the glass or bottle or splash a small amount of 100% fruit juice. Seltzer is a great alternative.
  1. Alcohol: The Holidays wouldn’t be the same without it. However, not only can alcohol dehydrate you, it lowers your inhibitions which can likely result in overeating. Alcohol itself is also high in calories and mixed drinks usually have plenty of added sugar.
  • Cut down on the calories, alcohol, and added sugar (and stay hydrated) by diluting mixed drinks with water or seltzer (or try nonfat milk with eggnog) and alternate each fancy drink with a tall glass of water.
  • If you are hosting, try using fresh ingredients instead of mixes. 100% fruit juices have greater nutritious value than mixes (vitamins, antioxidants, fiber), they are generally lower in calories, and don’t have added sugar.
  1. Don’t skip meals before a party. According to statistics, you are more likely to overeat at a party if you arrive hungry.
  • Eat a healthy meal during the day and have a healthy snack before going to a party.
  • Fiber makes you feel full and will help you curb your appetite so a handful of raw vegetables, a medium sized fruit or a small handful of nuts or trail mix is a perfect pre-party snack.
  1. Skip appetizers if you can stand it. Appetizers (and their dunking sauces) are generally very high in fat, calories, and sodium. If they are just too appealing, try to stick to vegetable appetizers, and those apps that have not been fried.
  1. Scan the buffet table before taking your serving. When it’s your time to choose:
  • Try to limit yourself to one plate, choosing only the dishes you really want.
  • A regular serving of meat is 3 oz – about the size of a deck of cards. Seems impossible, but try to keep it within limits to avoid extra saturated fat, sodium, and calories.
  • When it comes to dessert the first bite is usual the best bite! Choose something small and satisfying. Sharing with a friend is always a good idea. Watch the extra toppings if they are offered such as the whipped cream. Choose a few nuts or fresh fruits.

Most importantly, relax and enjoy the holidays!

Written by: Annie Rusoff, Dietetic Intern, 2015