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How to Eat Healthy at Christmas

by
author image Bridget Coila
Bridget Coila specializes in health, nutrition, pregnancy, pet and parenting topics. Her articles have appeared in Oxygen, American Fitness and on various websites. Coila has a Bachelor of Science in cell and molecular biology from the University of Cincinnati and more than 10 years of medical research experience.
How to Eat Healthy at Christmas
Christmas dinner doesn't have to be a nutritional minefield. Photo Credit Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Christmas is a time of celebration, but it also tends to be a time of high-fat, high-calorie food. Being part of the Christmas celebration without sabotaging your health goals may be difficult, but it is definitely doable. The key to eating healthy at Christmas is to plan ahead, bringing your own snacks and dishes if necessary, so that you don't get caught unaware and end up filling up on unhealthy options.

Step 1

Eat a healthy breakfast on Christmas morning. Include at least one fruit or vegetable and some protein such as eggs or nuts. This will help stave off hunger and prevent overeating high-calorie snacks while waiting for the big lunch or dinner to be served.

Step 2

Bring a nutritious dish to the festivities. Offer beforehand to provide a salad or vegetable side dish so you can be assured that there will be at least one healthy item at the meal.

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Step 3

Pack a snack to bring with you in case you can't find anything healthy to nibble on between meals. An apple or orange and a small bag of nuts makes a good portable snack.

Step 4

Consume a healthy snack or small meal every three to four hours throughout the day. This helps keep blood sugar levels stable and is much healthier than consuming a single large meal.

Step 5

Load your plate with healthy options first. Instead of heading straight for the calorie and fat-laden side dishes, choose some lean turkey or ham and vegetables for your first plateful. You can have some higher-calorie options when you're ready for seconds and already somewhat full.

Step 6

Drink a glass of red wine with your Christmas dinner. Red wine is high in resveratrol, a phytochemical that helps fight heart disease and cancer. If you don't drink alcohol, try a glass of grape juice or just have plain water instead.

Step 7

Practice portion control. Instead of completely depriving yourself of the high-calorie options, try a single piece or just one bite, enough to get a taste, but not enough to leave you feeling stuffed.

Step 8

Have a cup of tea before, or even in place of, dessert. Tea has loads of antioxidants, and the liquid will fill you up, making it less likely you will gorge on cake, pie and candy.

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References

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