Holiday Eating Without the Weight
For many, the holidays are a very difficult time to control body weight. Tempting treats are readily available and busy schedules tend to infringe upon regular routines like exercise. Lakes Regional Healthcare Registered Dietitian Beth Samuelson offers the following nutrition tips to help you manage through the holidays and still enjoy them.
1. All food choices do not have to be eaten in one meal. Freeze leftovers to enjoy later.
2. Enjoy all the foods you really want, but in much smaller portions. There is often way more food at parties than at regular meals, but people still take regular portions of everything.
3. Savor every bite. Eating slower helps cut down the amount of food consumed.
4. Don’t skip meals the day of a holiday party, and never go to a party hungry! Instead, eat light but filling foods like soup, lettuce salad, fresh vegetables and dip, or a high fiber cereal with milk before the big event.
5. Hold out for true love. Don’t give in to urges randomly by nibbling at food all day. Keep the motto, “If you don’t love it, don’t eat it.”
6. During gatherings, don’t sit or stand next to the food tables.
7. At buffet tables, survey the table before selecting your food choices and limit it to one trip.
8. Limit alcoholic beverages. Enjoy only one if you must, then switch to diet soda or soda water with a lime.
9. Bring a lower calorie holiday dish to the party to enjoy. Many web sites offer scrumptious low fat, low calorie recipes at no charge.
10. When making holiday meals or treats, chew gum to avoid nibbling and sampling. In addition, chewing gum can help with appetite control throughout the day.
11. Immediately fill mixing and baking dishes with soapy water after use. Calories from samples of the mixing batter or the baked crunchy areas of the corner of pans add up quickly.
12. If you receive holiday treats, consider freezing them to enjoy at a later time.
13. When making holiday treats, make just enough for a few treats at home and for gift giving. Package the goodies for gift-giving right away to avoid eating the “gifts.” Make sure to have plenty of healthy, low calorie snacks around the house to help curb cravings.
14. Be aware of what you are eating and drinking. Egg nog has 480 calories per 1 cup serving, and add a shot of rum for another 100 calories. Four 2”x2” pieces of peanut brittle have 550 calories. That is a total of 1,130 calories and you haven’t even started on the meal yet.
15. Make yourself accountable by writing down everything that goes in your mouth. Keeping track of your consumption helps to limit consumption.
16. Stay hydrated. If you are not in tune with your body, thirst may mask itself in hunger. Ask yourself, “Am I really hungry or just thirsty?”
17. Don’t waste time at the mall driving around for closer parking. Bring your walking shoes, and park in the farthest stall. You might save yourself a door ding and get some exercise.
18. Sign up for a 5K, fitness walk, or other event to keep yourself focused on your fitness goals during the holidays. Better yet, sign up the whole family.
19. Remember, the holidays are truly only three days: Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. If you blow it only on three days, then you won’t do much damage. The vicious cycle of not enough exercise and too many calories during this time of year is what contributes to weight gain.
20. Finally, celebrate and focus on what the holidays are truly about—spending time with family and friends. Find creative activities or ways to get your family and friends to play a game or be active instead of eating. Pick a time or event to get together that does not revolve around a meal.