Eating Tips for Special Occasions

By Emily Croston

Thanksgiving dinner

Birthdays, holidays, and other celebrations are meaningful times for us all. They’re full of family, friends, fun, and (of course) food. It can be very difficult to stick to a healthy diet when faced with the multitude of tempting dishes that often grace the table during these times, but it is possible! Keep the following tips in mind, and you can enjoy celebrating with your friends and family while eating healthfully:

  1. Make sure to watch your portions. It’s fine to have some of everything; just have a little of everything. Click here if you’d like more information on portion sizes.

  1. If you know you’re going to be having a big family meal, eat light for the rest of the day. For instance, you might try having egg whites with low fat cheese or two pieces of whole wheat toast with low fat peanut butter for breakfast if you’re anticipating a big lunch or dinner.

  1. Are you in charge of the cooking? Try making some substitutions in your recipes. For instance, use skim milk rather than whole or 2%, and use lower sodium soups when soup is called for.

  1. Eat only what you love, and skip the dishes you don’t.

  1. Try to avoid snacking beforehand. It might be tough, but ignore those cheese and cracker trays and save your appetite for the meal.

  1. Eat slowly. You’ll feel full faster, which means you won’t have room for seconds. It will also give you more time to enjoy conversations with those around you!

  1. If you do indulge a bit too much, don’t be hard on yourself. We all have diet slip-ups, and tomorrow is new day with plenty of opportunities to make better food choices!
pumpkin pie

Here are a few more tips for those of you who enjoy celebrating with a night out in a restaurant:

  1. Ask for a take away box to be brought with your meal. Before eating any, put 1/3 to ½ of your food into the box for later. Restaurant portions are often large enough for two or even three meals!

  1. If you must have dressing on your salad, ask for it on the side. Many dressings are full of fat, sodium, and/or calories, and you’ll eat less by dipping each bite into the dressing rather than slathering the whole salad with it.

  1. Avoid menu items that include the words “fried,” “battered,” “smothered,” ect. Those words often signify that the food is high in fat and calories.

  1. If it’s available, look up the nutrition information of the restaurant’s menu items ahead of time. That way, when it comes time to order, you’ll be able to make an informed choice about what’s healthiest.

  1. When your waiter asks if you want to see a dessert menu, say no. Out of sight, out of mind!

If you’d like more information, advice, or suggestions, please click on one of the links below. Happy holidays, and happy eating!

Healthy Holiday Eating from MSN

Recipe Ideas from Cooking Light

Lightened Holiday Recipes from Cooking Light

Advice for Eating Out from Good Housekeeping

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