Graphic by Tristan Ipock

Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, pumpkin pie — the list goes on and on. The holidays are sneaking up and we’re already getting excited to stuff our faces and watch football. There’s no other holiday more anticipated by a college student than the one that takes students back to their homes for those famous home cooked meals.

So, how do you manage to stay healthy through the holiday cooking madness? It’s simple: moderation. You’re going to have a ton of options, and you’re going to want to get your hands on most of it. That’s more than okay, but all you have to remember is that a little goes a long way.

When it comes to dinner, start light and get decent portions of the foods you want the most. For example, grab a couple medium sized pieces of turkey or ham, a spoonful of mashed potatoes, a spoonful of stuffing and a dinner roll. If you’re still hungry after that  (because if you’re like me you skipped breakfast to save room for lunch and dinner), it’s okay to go back for seconds. Grab that second buttery dinner roll, just don’t over do it and get seconds of everything.

Do not, and I mean do not, eat until you’re the type of full that gives you a sluggish feeling that makes you want to unbutton your jeans while you sit. That’s not exactly the epitome of a “healthy” full. Remind yourself throughout your meal to save room for dessert. You don’t want to miss out on that picture perfect pumpkin pie.

Don’t take a nap right after you eat. If you feel sluggish enough to take a nap in the first place, then you overdid it. Sleeping immediately after eating, especially a meal like Thanksgiving dinner, will slow your digestion and cause your body to hold more fat. Avoid taking that nap and watch football or take a walk through the neighborhood instead.

Now, it’s time to discuss dessert. We all know how difficult it is to resist pumpkin pie and that peach cobbler, but it’s best to stick to one slice and one slice only. Extra calories are a no-go. Drink water with it because drinking a glass of water between the beginning of your dessert and the end of it tricks your stomach into thinking it’s full. Even though you’ve only had one cookie, you won’t feel like you need another one.

Indulging in leftovers on Black Friday after shopping ‘til you drop, is one of the best feelings of the holiday season. Nevertheless, say no to leftovers as much as you can. Eating leftovers once or twice after the holiday is okay, but it’s important to return to your healthier diet as soon as you can. Vegetables and fruits are the way to go.

Among all the culinary goodness, don’t forget to stay active. Staying fit comes down to two things: How you use your body, and what you put into it. Eating in moderation is half the battle, and the other half comes down to maintaining your exercise routine. Stay active by doing yoga, going on a jog, or lifting weights.

The one word to keep in your mind this holiday season is moderation. Being healthy this holiday season doesn’t have to mean skipping the mashed potatoes or skipping the pumpkin pie, but remembering that a little goes a long way. Small proportions and exercises are going to be the keys to staying fit these next few months.

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