Eating healthy during the holidays

December 15, 2014 By Mark S. Garavel, MS, RD, CD-N

The holiday season is a time for social gatherings and most of these gathering revolve around food and drink. The following dietary tips should be helpful, especially during holiday gatherings.

• Set a game plan as to what selections you will make. Most of us know what goodies to expect especially at family gatherings.
• Offer to bring a dish when invited to a party. Make a dish that fits into your diet. Not only will you be able to eat it, all of the other guests will enjoy it, too!
• Don't skip meals all day in anticipation of a party later that day. You may find it helpful to eat a snack before going to the party since approaching a buffet table on an empty stomach is just stacking the deck against yourself.
• Arriving at a party fashionably late may save you from exposure to the hors d'oeuvres that are often too tempting to avoid and usually high in calories.
• If you drink, keep track of the alcohol you drink. Do not drink just to be social; don't let other guests negatively influence you!
• Eat slowly! It takes at least 20 minutes for your stomach to signal your brain that you've had enough. Remember to keep your portions reasonable.
• Choose foods wisely and limit foods high in fatty cheese or cream.
• Try to eat lightly the day before and the day after the holiday. Limit your fluids, high sodium, and high potassium foods.

Mark Garavel is regional manager, Food and Nutrition for the Central Region of Hartford HealthCare, which includes The Hospital of Central Connecticut (HOCC). For referrals to HOCC physicians, please contact our free Need-A-Physician referral service by phone at 800.321.6244.