3 Tips to Stick with Your Heart Healthy Habits this Holiday Season

Lisa Nelson, RD, LN Health Pro
  • Here are three tips to implement this holiday season to stay on track with your heart health goals.

     

    1. Plan Ahead

     

    Think about where you'll be, who you'll be with, what foods will be available, and what foods you really look forward to versus those you wouldn't be bothered to skip. What triggers you to overeat during the holidays and how can you reduce the triggers? Once you've evaluated all these issues make a plan of action.

     

    A plan of action may include brining an alternative healthy dish to a holiday gathering to balance out the other rich foods available or being sure to eat a light healthy snack prior to attending a holiday party. By eating a light snacks in advance you'll still have an appetite for all the great holiday foods, but you won't be starving which means you'll be less likely to go overboard.

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    2. Get enough sleep.

     

    Lack of sleep can affect you in many negative ways. When you are tired your desire to make healthy food choices slips and you tend to opt for convenient options (such as fast food!) that may not be the best choice for you. When you are tired you not only feel lousy, but your body produces more of the hormone ghrelin. Ghrelin stimulates your appetite making you feel hungry and causes you to eat more.

     

    The holidays can be very hectic, but it is even more important that you make time for 7-9 hours of sleep every night. This will help combat stress, boost your immunity, and increase the likelihood you'll be prepared to make healthy choices throughout the holidays.

     

    3. Set boundaries for balance and portion control.

     

    You will be surrounded by rich foods this holiday season which can make overindulging very easy. Before you start dishing up your plate peruse the foods available. Make a conscious decision to limit the foods high in fat. This doesn't mean you can't enjoy some of the rich high fat options, but you want to balance the high fat foods with healthier choices. Don't forget to keep an eye on your portion sizes. There is probably going to be an abundance of foods to select from so go with small portions. One "trick" you can implement is to use a plate for everything, even the smallest snack. This will help you to eat less because it'll make you pay more attention to what you are eating versus constant grabbing from a finger food snack tray. Also, set yourself goals, such as only one trip to the buffet table for appetizers, one trip for the main meal, and one trip for dessert. By limiting yourself you can slow down and savor the foods on your plate.

     

    The holidays are a great opportunity to spend time with loved ones, but it doesn't mean you have to put your health goals on hold. Be sure to sign up for The Heart of Health and receive access to the free report How to Make Heart Healthy Changes into Habits at http://www.hearthealthmadeeasy.com.

     

Published On: November 23, 2009