Best tips & tricks for staying healthy during holiday season.

The holidays are full of family, friends, great food, and great parties.  It can be a challenge not to get a little too relax on the healthy eating and exercise that we typically maintain.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Fortunately, with a few tricks, it’s possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle year-round. We asked Katrina Trisko, MS, RD, a Registered Dietitian based in NYC to share some of her best tips and tricks for staying healthy during Thanksgiving and the rest of the Holiday season.

What are some of your best tips and tricks for staying healthy during Thanksgiving and the rest of the Holiday season?

- Don’t “save room for later”: When you are planning to have a large holiday meal (especially on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day), don’t skip your regular meals prior and “save room for dinner.” Going to a holiday dinner hungry will likely lead you to overeat even more than you would otherwise. Make sure to incorporate a regular breakfast and lunch before heading off to Thanksgiving dinner.

- Plate Your Appetizers: If holiday events that you are attending offer a plethora of appetizers and finger food, plate yourself a portion instead of snacking directly from the serving tray. This will help you stay more mindful and intentional about how much you’re eating.

- Hydrate: During the holiday season, don’t forget to hydrate! Especially if you tend to drink more alcohol during holiday events, balance out the holiday punch with plenty of water. For every alcoholic beverage you have, follow it up with a full glass of water.

- Don’t Overextend Yourself: Remember to balance your physical and mental health over the holidays. If overbooking your calendar and overextending yourself prevents you from keeping up with the small things that help you feel your best, pick and choose what events you say yes to. It’s ok to say no especially if you need the time for yourself.

Is there a specific strategy for “cheating”? for example, do you recommend only allowing yourself a few bites of a cheat meal or should you go big or go home? & What are some of the ways we can listen to our body to see if we are going “overboard”?

Especially over the holidays, it’s important to focus on keeping things relatively balanced and remember to pay attention to your body! Don’t restrict yourself from having that Thanksgiving stuffing or Christmas cookie that you really want. But at the same time, don’t overdo it. Try and check in with your hunger and fullness signals. Are you physically satisfied? Do you really want or need to have that extra serving of Thanksgiving stuffing or that additional Christmas cookie? If so, then go for it. But if you’re already feeling physically full, then it might be a good idea to pass on that extra food.

Do you recommend extra exercise during the holiday season to make up for the extra calories?

Don’t punish yourself over the holiday season by over exercising. The holiday season can be busy for many, so try to maintain whatever movement you typically get in during the rest of the year. And if you do go a little overboard at a holiday event here or there, be gentle with yourself. Don’t restrict yourself or workout just because you had an overindulgent meal the day prior. Instead, go on a 20 minute walk after the meal, be sure to drink plenty of water, and remember to fuel yourself as you normally would the next day.