Start by considering what healthy eating means and what eating patterns are like for you during ‘non-holiday’ times. Referring to basics – use MyPlate to guide balancing and choosing from food groups and the US Dietary Guidelines for general health. Our plates should contain proportionately more plant-based foods – vegetables, whole grains, and fruit, and then lean dairy and protein sources. Focus on consuming nutrient-dense foods while decreasing foods high in sodium, sugar, and fat
Most Americans should increase plant-based foods; surveys show that most folks fall far short of recommendations. However, watch portion sizes – you can still eat too much of a good thing!
Stay hydrated – emphasizing water. Fluid needs are based on sex, weight, activity level, and state of health. I recommend following the age-old recommendation of drinking at least eight 8-ounce cups per day to consume a baseline of water each day.
Get physical! Recommendations for physical activity: 150 minutes+/week of moderate activity. You should be able to talk while exercising but not sing. Physical activity should be spread over the week with no more than two rest days.
Make at least one recommended change before Thanksgiving – preferably starting today. I am a firm believer in practical and basic lifestyle changes. If you already have an active lifestyle, including regular and consistent activity, and you are making a point to include at least three vegetables and two fruit servings in your diet every day. And, suppose you are drinking at least eight cups of water every day and keep portion sizes to the recommended serving size. In that case, you will be able to eat a piece of pie on Thanksgiving or during the holidays while enjoying and appreciating each bite!
- Prepare tossed salad, fruit salad, and cooked or raw vegetables for sides and snacks.
- Serve lean cuts of meat – turkey/chicken breast, loin cuts (i.e., pork loin) – baked, broiled, roasted.
- Eat breakfast and healthy snacks every day, especially on days when attending a holiday event.
- Get plenty of sleep as holidays can create stress and unhealthy eating.