After an incredibly stressful year, the holidays have finally arrived. It would be easy and understandable to let loose and indulge in some unhealthy eating as we relax and spend time with family and friends.
We don’t blame you for that feeling that way as we have certainly earned some downtime. Food is one of the central reasons for enjoying the holidays. We eat, talk, and gather around it for days at a time.
And no, we are not going to recommend you eat only bland food or drink water so you can set aside any misplaced guilt. You can still indulge in delicious food while still caring for your teeth and health. Remember that your mouth and food is the gateway to your body. We want to nourish it and strengthen it.
Here are some tips on how you can eat healthy over the holidays:
- Keep your distance: When you are at home or a gathering, keep your distance from the snack table and don’t graze. Grab a small plate, get a few items, and then walk away.
- Eat before the main course: It sounds silly but if you eat something before you have dinner, you will eat less at the main course. Eat an apple, banana, toast with peanut butter, turkey slice, or a cup of yogurt with blueberries. It will prevent you from over-indulging on an empty stomach.
- Don’t eat it all: When you get to the food table, choose judiciously. Get the food you like and in small portions. It’s better to go back multiple times than to overeat in one sitting.
- Remember to “Take 10”: After finishing your first plate, take ten minutes and let your food digest. Drink a glass of water, talk, and relax. You may find you are full and don’t need another plate.
- Alcohol on an empty stomach? Definitely not. Beer and wine are full of sugar and carbohydrates. It also increases your appetite and decreases your ability to control what you eat. Remember to drink alcohol in moderation as it can affect your overall health. Chronic alcohol usage can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems.
- Drink healthily: Sugary drinks like eggnog and hot Chocolate can pack 500 calories or more in just one cup. Beer can have 150 calories and wine can have 125 calories. Spoil yourself with one drink and sip on water after that. ***
- Walk it off: Walking after eating is an excellent way to burn calories and bond with family and friends. Take at least 15 minutes (30 optimal) after eating and walk around the neighborhood.
- Eat the veggies: Green beans, peas, Brussel sprouts, and other vegetables are healthy and fill you up, too. Remember the more colorful the veggie, the healthier it is for you.
- Scan the dinner table or buffet: Instead of getting in line and being surprised by each item, scan the table so you won’t overindulge. You will get a clear idea of what is available and then you can choose wisely what to put on your plate.
- It’s not about the food: Though the food and drink may be at the center of the holidays, it’s really not about that at all. Your time with family and friends is what matters. Leave the table and find a comfortable spot to chat and fellowship with loved ones. After a year like this one, our priorities have shifted to more important things. Make this holiday less about the food and more about family.
As you see, you can still have a fun and delicious holiday. You just have to take it in moderation, that’s all.
If you have dental care issues over the holidays, you can call us All Smiles Bethesda. At our office, we have experienced dentists and dental hygienists who can take care of your emergency dental needs. If you would like to schedule an appointment at our office that offers family and cosmetic dentistry, please call us at 301-984-9646 or email us at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We serve the Bethesda, Rockville, Silver Spring, and the Washington, DC area.
*** For more nutritional information about popular holiday drinks, visit the Dietetic Directions website.