Think of eating like a debit card

I’d like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas today. With so much to celebrate, food is never far from the center of the day.

Here are some tips to help you make it through this holiday season and still enjoy yourself.

Think of eating today like using a debit card. You should have some calories in the bank before you spend them. Before you start your day of food and fun, take the time to stretch a bit, march in place, and maybe even do some leg raises or squats. Anything to get your blood moving a bit. Doing a few simple exercises will help get your mind in a healthier place.

While you’re moving around, think of the foods that will be available today. Start imagining them and how they taste. From there, decide which ones you’re most looking forward to eating. Make a mental list and prioritize your favorites. When the time comes to actually eat them, it will be just like opening a special anticipated present!

After you’ve decided on which foods you’re looking forward to, step back and think about the ones you should eat. Fitting in fruits, vegetables and whole grains among the goodies will help you feel more in control and reinforce the healthy mindset you’ve started.

Finally, identify the foods and situations that you’ll encounter today. It’s hard to satiate on things that taste good, so plan a get away strategy. Put some gum in your pocket to distract yourself, or simply move away. And what about that loving relative that is deeply hurt when you don’t take a second or third helping of the food they prepared especially for you? You can ask for a serving to go so you may enjoy that food again later in the week. Leftovers are a great way to keep the holiday feeling going just a while longer!

Try to fit in some extra activity throughout the day. If you can’t make it outside for a walk, get creative. Setting the table? Put everything on one item at a time and stretch out your steps between the kitchen and the table. Watching TV? Stand up during commercials and march. Where’s there a will, there’s a way.

Here’s to a healthy Christmas Day!

Mary is a clinical dietitian at Banner Churchill Community Hospital and consultant for Pershing General Hospital. Your nutrition questions are welcome — send questions to Mary C. Koch, R.D. in care of this newspaper.


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