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  • Writer's pictureEmily Sicinski, MS, RDN, CDN

A Dietitian’s True Thoughts on the Holiday Season



If you read my last blog post about Halloween, you already know fall is my favorite season. I love the cool weather, the start of the holidays, and all the time I am fortunate enough to spend with close family and friends. There is no denying that the holiday season brings many occasions involving food, and it is an interesting time of year to navigate with clients as an RD. Today, I’m here to give you some of my top recommendations to help you enjoy all the holiday season has to offer while also prioritizing your health and wellness.


One of the first suggestions I give to clients is to maintain a regular meal schedule. If you’re hosting a gathering or preparing for a holiday, it can become easy to focus all your energy on the tasks you need to get done. This could lead to mindless snacking, skipping meals, or less nutritious grab-and-go eating patterns. On the other hand, if you are attending a gathering with an abundance of food, you may find yourself skipping meals that day and “saving your appetite” for all the delicious food that will be there. By maintaining a meal schedule, it ensures that you continue to eat 3 meals daily which can help maintain optimal metabolism and energy levels. Plus, it takes nothing away from your grand, holiday meal. Instead, it will probably just help a bit more with portion control, and lead you to feel less tired, bloated, and over-full afterwards.



The second suggestion I give to clients is to try and maintain balance when it comes to the holiday meal itself. Make sure you are still focused on getting in all the food groups - protein, carbs, healthy fats and fiber. If you’re responsible for preparing dishes for a gathering, try adding more vegetables to your recipes for added balance and a boost of vitamins and minerals. All of the food groups in the right amounts work together to give you sustained fullness, so there’s a good chance you’ll feel more satisfied after your first plate if you eat this way, too. And when the dessert course is served, don’t feel like you have to avoid the course completely. Instead, add a fruit option to your dessert plate to ensure balance is taking place there, too.



Something I hear often is how clients are concerned about “falling off track” during the holidays. Well, if you allow the holidays to completely dictate your lifestyle this might actually be the case. To help combat “falling off track,” here are my top 3 recommendations: when you are not at a holiday gathering, (1) plan your meals and keep your house stocked with nutritious foods and snacks, (2) keep your body moving, and (3) drink plenty of water. These tips could help you remain health-focused while also making you feel good!



The holidays should be a time of togetherness and joy. With adequate planning and preparation, it is possible to enjoy all of the meals the holidays have to offer while also maintaining your health and nutrition goals. Hopefully, this blog post helped ease the nerves of some who might struggle with a restrictive holiday mindset and served as helpful to those looking for some extra guidance.


Until Next Time,


Emily



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