The holiday season is here! This is the season to celebrate with friends and family, which often involves eating, and lots of it. This time of celebration can also come with some unwanted pounds. According to the National Institute of Health, holiday eating can result in and extra pound or two every year, if not more. The holidays don’t have to be synonymous with weight gain. Take some of the focus off the food and enjoy the people you are spending time with doing non-food activities. Try playing family games, watch holiday movies, or decorate holiday crafts. By implementing a few small changes, you can avoid any holiday mishaps with weight gain or falling off track. Below is a list of helpful ideas:
1. Be realistic. This is not the time to set a goal to lose weight. Trying to maintain during the holidays is a more realistic goal.
2. Plan time for exercise. Exercise can help prevent weight gain and alleviate any holiday stresses. A slight increase in intensity or time of your daily exercise can help to offset any extra calories consumed during holiday eating.
3. Do not skip meals or go to a party hungry. Have low calorie snack before you head to a party, like veggies with hummus, Greek yogurt, fruit, cottage cheese, or a small 1/4 cup portion of nuts. This will prevent overeating and you will be less likely to over indulge.
4. Look at all your food choices. Survey the buffet table or meal before you just start piling up your plate. Choose only your favorite foods and leave your least favorites for someone else to over indulge in.
5. Eat slowly and eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. It takes 20 minutes to send a signal from your stomach to your brain that you have food in it, so if you eat quickly you will be able to get a lot more calories in. Savor the foods you enjoy while eating small portions.
6. Watch what you drink. Alcohol or sugary drinks can lead to excess calories which add up quickly. Alcohol can also lessen your inhibitions which can lead to overeating.
7. If you over indulge at one meal, try to eat less at the next one. Overeating at one meal doesn’t pack on the pounds but continuing to overeat and start “Monday” can be very dangerous. Every new day is another chance to get back on track!
8. Bring a healthy appetizer or dessert to a party. Try bringing a vegetable platter with different dips, like hummus or Greek yogurt with vegetable soup mix. Bring a cheese and fruit plate or a big fruit salad for dessert. After a heavy meal, a light dessert of refreshing fruit is always a welcomed treat.
9. Use a small plate. It is mind over matter. If you see a small plate filled with food, you will not feel deprived. You will also consume less calories that filling up on a large plate.
Remember most holiday foods are available year-round so you don’t have to feel like you will never have this food again. Take a small piece of a traditional food that you don’t have as often.
Happy and Healthy Holidays!!