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Special Occasion Eating – Keeping on Track

Special Occasion Eating – Keeping on Track

"Social activities, equals eating," says Live Well/Work Well Nutritionist Heather Wolfe, MPH, RDN, LD, CHC, and offers these tips for establishing healthy eating strategies to help stay on track while still enjoying special occasions.

First and foremost, stay grounded in the guidelines:

  • Remember “MyPlate” - which outlines the quantity and quality of food that you choose; three-quarters of your plate should be fruit and vegetable based. Visit the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) ChooseMyPlate website for more information.
  • Pick plants – Moving toward a plant-based diet is protective for health with better health outcomes.
  • Watch portions – at least half of your plate should be colorful with fruits and or vegetables, a quarter of with grains and at least half of the time should be whole grain, pick a lean protein most of the time.

Here are a few strategies for staying grounded and on track:

  • Plan ahead
    • Don’t go hungry – skipping and skimping sets you up for overeating.
  • Scan and plan
    • Whether it's buffet or family style, look first, then decide what you want to eat.
  • Be mindful
    • Slow down while you are eating, be thankful and take smaller servings.
  • Shift your focus from food, to family and friends.
  • Take two (or three) bites
    • Research shows that if you are not hungry, it takes only two to three bites to be satisfied.
  • Add more activity to move some of the calories out that you are taking in.
  • Rethink your drink
    • Calories from liquids can add up without making you feel full, so save your calories for solid foods.

Find more recipes and health eating tips in the Cooking Up Health section of Imagine Better.

Heather Wolfe, MPH, RDN, LD, CHC, is one of the Live Well/Work Well Health and Wellness (Dartmouth-Hitchcock's employee wellness program) coaches specializing in nutrition.