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It’s season, the season for green beans to carry all the nutritional value of our holiday meals. Eating healthy during the holidays can be incredibly challenging: from grappling with guilt to choosing limited healthy options to indulge, sometimes an event meant to be festive can instantly become stressful.
On The Everygirl Podcast this week, we spoke with Lisa Moskovitz, a registered dietitian and nutritionist, about all the stressors associated with eating out and eating during the holidays, and exactly how to deal with them. Moskovitz is an expert in all aspects of intuitive eating, maintaining a healthy relationship with food, and tackling dietary culture. Read Moskovitz’s top three tips for stress-free healthy eating during the holidays (hint: green beans will definitely make the plate) and check out this week’s episode of The Everygirl Podcast for more.
1. Re-evaluate your relationship with food through reflective journaling
You’ve probably heard at some point in your life that the most common time of year to gain weight is the holiday season, and – if you have a complicated relationship with food – you may find this fact very stressful. Moskovitz wants to put his mind at ease, because through his own nutritional practice he has discovered that the average winter weight gain for most people is less than 1lb (so it’s not worth the stress!). More important to Moskovitz than what you eat during the holiday season is, Why you are eating it
Moskovitz recommends starting a journal to combat some of the complex feelings about food and nutrition that may arise during the holiday season. This doesn’t mean keeping track of your calories in a diary or even writing down what you eat; instead, Moskovitz recommends writing down what you think about the food and the holiday season first. Asking yourself why you might be triggered by certain foods or even just thinking about what it means to you to sit down and truly enjoy a holiday meal with your loved one can make a big difference in your mindset as the holiday season approaches.
2. Eat balanced meals at regular intervals
We’ve all been there: 3:00 p.m. on one of the busiest workdays leading to vacation, and you suddenly realize that the last thing you ate the night before was a plate of cookies and a glass of eggnog. No matter how busy this time of year is, Moskovitz emphasizes the importance of eating as often and regularly as possible. “It’s very common and easy to skip meals during the holidays, especially if you’re someone who hosts, prepares meals, or is busy with deadlines,” Moskovitz said. “What I always tell people is you can eat some now or you can eat a lot more later. It’s very important to be consistent at mealtimes and continue to eat.”
Eating well-balanced meals on a regular basis will make it much easier to be mindful of your food choices during the holiday season, according to Moskovitz. Its formula for a balanced meal includes fiber-rich carbohydrates, lean proteins, and anti-inflammatory fats. When you stay consistent in your eating habits, you can feel the benefits of a stable mood, less food anxiety, and more energy all season long.
3. Fill half your plate with vegetables
As great as they are, holiday buffets can be overwhelming. Moskovitz says there are only two key questions to ask yourself when faced with any food choice: What craves and how can I make it more nutritious? He emphasizes that it’s not about labeling foods as good or bad or counting calories: it’s about eating in harmony with what you know will satisfy you and make you feel your best. If you want to follow a formula, Moskovitz recommends filling half your plate with vegetables, a quarter with protein, and a quarter with starch. She says it’s always important to include something you crave on your plate, whether it’s mac and cheese or a slice of pie, because doing so will ensure you’re eating healthy while enjoying a delicious holiday meal.