All in Moderation
No foods should ever be completely off limits in a well-balanced diet, but especially around the holidays. If you deprive yourself of holiday favorites you might only get once a year, you might leave your gathering feeling unsatisfied and perhaps more likely to splurge elsewhere. It’s better to allow all foods, but know which ones to eat more of, which ones to moderate, and which ones to limit for truly special occasions.
Eat lots of these! These foods all clearly have a place within a healthy diet, just be careful of exceeding your calorie intake, even with something nutritious like fruit.
- Lean cuts of meat (chicken, turkey, fish)
- Beans and legumes
- Low-fat dairy (skim milk, low-fat string cheese)
- Whole wheat and whole grain options
Proceed with caution! These foods can easily be incorporated into a healthy diet, but it is important to moderate your serving sizes.
- Meats higher in fat content (red meat, ham)
- White breads or pastas
Stop and think before you eat! These foods can still be enjoyed on occasion, but make sure they have a limited appearance in your diet and that the splurge is truly worth the extra calories.
- Baked goods (cookies, cake, pie)
- Fried foods
- Fatty cuts of meat (bacon, pepperoni)
- Alcoholic beverages
When in doubt about whether a food is completely healthy or should be limited, try reading the nutrition label. Look not only at total calories, but also serving size, grams of fat and sugar, and ingredients. Foods with more than five ingredients are more likely to have several processed ingredients and artificial additives. Learn more about deciphering nutrition labels.