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‘Tis the season—that is, ’tis the season for green beans to carry the entire nutritional value of our holiday meals on their backs. Healthy eating during the holidays can be incredibly difficult: from grappling with guilt for indulgence to limited healthy options, sometimes an event that is meant to be festive can instantly become stressful.
This week on The Everygirl Podcast, we spoke with Lisa Moskovitz, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, to break down all of the stressors related to food and eating during the holidays, and exactly how to tackle them. Moskovitz is an expert on all things related to intuitive eating, maintaining a healthy relationship with food, and combating diet culture. So read on for Moskovitz’s top three tips for healthy eating during the holidays without stress (hint: the green beans are definitely gonna make the plate), and check out this week’s episode of The Everygirl Podcast for more.
1. Reevaluate your relationship with food through reflective journaling
Chances are that at some point in your life, you’ve heard that the most common time of year to gain weight is the holiday season, and–if you have a complicated relationship with food–you might find this fact very stressful. Moskovitz wants to put your mind at ease, because she has found through her own nutrition practice that the average winter weight gain for most people is less than 1lb (so it is not worth the stress!). For Moskovitz, the far more important thing than what you are eating during the holiday season is why you are eating it.
In order to combat some of the complex feelings about food and nutrition that can come up during the holiday season, Moskovitz recommends getting into journaling. This does not mean tracking your calories in a journal or even writing down what you eat; instead, Moskovitz recommends writing about how you feel about food and the holiday season first. Asking yourself why you might feel triggered by certain foods, or even just thinking about what it means to you to be able to sit down and truly enjoy a holiday meal with your loved ones can make all the difference in your mindset approaching the holiday season.
2. Eat balanced meals at regular intervals
We’ve all been there: it’s 3 pm on one of the busiest work days leading up to the holidays, and suddenly you realize that the last thing you ate was a plate of cookies and a glass of eggnog the night before. As busy as this time of year may be, Moskovitz emphasizes the importance of eating meals at regular intervals as often as possible. “With holidays, especially if you are someone who’s hosting or preparing or busy with deadlines, it’s very common and easy to skip meals,” Moskovitz said. “What I always tell people is that you can eat a little bit now, or you can eat a lot more later. It’s very important to be consistent with eating times and stay nourished.”
According to Moskovitz, eating balanced meals regularly will make it much easier to be mindful about your food choices during the holiday season. Her formula for a well-balanced meal includes fiber-rich carbs, lean proteins, and anti-inflammatory fats. When you stay consistent with your eating habits, you can feel the benefits of a stable mood, less anxiety about food, and more energy throughout the entire season.
3. Fill half of your plate with vegetables
As wonderful as they are, holiday buffets can be overwhelming. Moskovitz says there are just two key questions to ask yourself when faced with any food choices: what am I craving, and how can I make this more nutritious? She emphasizes that it’s not about labeling foods as good or bad, or about calorie counting: it’s about eating in tune with what you know will satisfy you and make you feel best. If you do want to follow a formula, Moskovitz suggests filling half of your plate with vegetables, a quarter with protein, and a quarter with a starch. She says that it is always important to include something you’re craving on your plate, whether it’s mac and cheese or a slice of pie, because doing so will allow you to eat healthy while still genuinely enjoying a delicious holiday meal.