Welcome to the Ask a Dietitian column!

Over the course of the school year, our Registered Dietitians and dietetic interns get some deep questions regarding nutrition and food from students like you. We’ve noticed a trend in what people are interested in knowing more about, so we thought we’d post our answers for everyone to enjoy!

In this special holiday edition of the Ask a Dietitian column we discuss surviving the season. ‘Tis the season to be jolly, but ‘tis also the season for eggnog, turkey, open buffets, Yule logs, and-… ah, sorry, I think I’ve just drooled on my keyboard! No one can resist the tasty foods that the winter holidays bring. Or can they? Is there a way to make healthy choices during the festive season without looking like an alien in front of your friends and family? It’s a question as old as time, so let’s take a peek and see what our team has to say.

One student asks…

Dear Dietitian,

The holidays are around the corner and I’m trying to NOT repeat what happened last time (I overate almost every day and returned to uni not being able to fit into my jeans). The food my family prepares just looks so good and I don’t know how to resist. HELP!

 Source: http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Christmas-Dinner-Christmas-Table-1909796

We get it: the holidays are a tough time to think about what you’re eating. You’re back at home, the whole family is there, and the last thing you’re thinking about is if you’ve eaten two or three slices of apple pie. We’ve all been there! No judgement at all. But it’s totally possible to be social and enjoy food with your family and friends while also maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

  1. Remember your portions. Canada’s Food Guide is a great tool to help you measure what amounts of certain food groups are recommended to eat, but cups and grams can be difficult to estimate when the party is in full swing. Use your hands to make mental measurements a lot easier; for example, one serving of grain products (such as ½ a cup of pasta or rice) can be eyeballed as being ½ of your fist. A serving of meat or fish (such as 75 g of chicken or salmon) is almost the size of your palm, which is also quite easy to remember.
  2. Try putting down your fork half way through your meal and wait a few minutes. Be mindful of how you feel! You might just notice that you’re actually not hungry anymore. You can also try to eat slower. Being mindful of your hunger and satiety cues can go a long way – often times, people are too distracted during a meal to recognize that they are no longer hungry and eat more than what their body needs at that time.
  3. Buffets are great, but watch what you put on your plate. It’s tough to eat well if you’re given an unlimited amount of food, but using a smaller plate will help you keep things in order. Start eating when you’re hungry, eat only what you need, and stop when you’re full – your body will thank you!
  4. Find sneaky ways to stay active. If you can get family or friends to join you on a trip to the gym or a run around the neighbourhood: no problem! If not, there are still some ways you can work out on your own in the comfort of your room. Google some at-home cardio exercises and try to hit 150-minutes per week of physical activity. Remember: a healthy lifestyle isn’t just about eating foods that are nutritious, it’s about strengthening your body and treating it with the respect it deserves.

The Ask a Dietitian Team wishes you a safe and wonderful festive season 

Happy Holidays!

Remember: if you have some of your own questions to ask us, we’d love to hear from you! Email us at AskaDietitian@carleton.ca or visit https://dining.carleton.ca/nutrition/ask-a-dietitian/ and fill out the form at the bottom of the page.

Friday, December 22, 2017 in ,
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