Avoiding the Holiday Bulge!
December 14, 2013Holiday EatingNutrition
The holidays are upon us! What a wonderful time of year, as we enjoy merriment with friends and family. And there’s all that yummy food, ALL THAT YUMMY FOOD! The type that only comes around once a year, and you have to make sure to have your fill, because you know you won’t have it again until next year! What’s the downside to all of this, the after-holiday blues, when many people are trying to lose the weight they gained over the holidays, and get back to their normal work-out routine (or start a new one).
There is good news and bad news about holiday weight gain. A recent study by the Child Health and Human Development, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases found that most Americans probably only gain about 1 pound over the holiday season (contrary to the previously though 5 to 10 pounds).
You might be thinking, wow, only 1lb, that’s no problem… but the downside to this weight gain is that most people don’t lose that 1 lb. Over the years, that 1 lb from holiday weight gain (not to mention the few more pounds that people may gain throughout the year) can add up down the road. In 10 years that’s an extra 10 lbs of holiday goodies still in your belly (well not really in, more like on your belly now).
No one wants to skip all the holiday goodies, that wouldn’t be any fun – but here are a few tips to help keep your middle fit as a fiddle…
First – Plan ahead for holiday parties, bring a dish to share that is healthy (so there is something you can eat a good size portion of if you are become hungry).
Never go to a holiday party hungry (You are way more likely to indulge that way). Eat a healthy mini-meal before going, maybe 1/2 a sandwich, an apple with peanut butter, even a healthy bowl of cereal with milk (make sure your mini-meal has some protein to help keep you from feeling like you are starving later).
Scope out the buffet table when you get there – find the healthy foods and go for those first!
Use a small size plate at the buffet, and limit how many times you go back for more.
Drink a non-alcoholic drink to quench your thirst (something low calorie would be great).
If you are going to drink alcohol, alternate one alcoholic drink and then one low calorie non-alcoholic drink (diet soda, glass of water, etc.)
If you are at a sit down meal, fill half your plate with veggies first (don’t count any type of potatoes as a veggie), then choose from the rest of the choices. If you are going to have dessert, avoiding seconds is probably a good idea (if you decide to have seconds, same rule applies, half your plate filled with veggies -and then you should probably skip dessert).
If you are going to have a dessert or “holiday treat” choose only one, and have small piece. Try to choose something that you don’t have the rest of the year, or something you absolutely love (if you absolutely must have 2 – take the second dessert home, for tomorrow).
Remember you are there to socialize and have fun, not to eat! Find a place away from the food table to mingle and hang out.
Don’t forget… drinks count, wether they are alcoholic or not. Just 1 cup (8oz) of Eggnog has 350 calories, and 20 g of fat… YIKES. The calories in Hot cocoa, and alcoholic drinks can add up too! A margarita or daquiri can have more than 500 calories per drink. Drinking alcohol also often leads to more munching as you lose your inhibitions.
Find some healthy holiday recipes to enjoy with others, or maybe you will want to bring a healthier holiday drink to share. Find ways to enjoy the holidays, and still be Healthy! Some of my favorite sites for healthy recipes are www.myskinnytaste.com, and www.eatingwell.com
-This article written in conjunction with Crystal Wilkins MA, RD, CDN
Tracey is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Plattsburgh, NY. She enjoys cooking healthy recipes for her family, and loves involving her daughter in the process. On her blog, she shares meal prep ideas, healthy recipes, nutrition tips and even gardening tips (to help you eat more whole foods). Check out her social media sites for more great tips.
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