The holidays are a time to gather with friends and family and — let’s be honest — enjoy all of your favorite holiday foods! But for someone who is trying to avoid weight gain, the worry over added holiday calories can cause a lot of unnecessary stress.
Recent research indicates that we gain an average of 1-2 pounds during the holiday season. Unfortunately, we tend to hang on to that one pound and pick up another, and another. So where do we go wrong? Those added calories come from constant nibbling/grazing instead of taking one plate, big portion sizes, high calorie recipes, and inactivity.
Follow these healthy holiday tips to avoid weight gain:
Control portion sizes
Don’t let foods touch on the plate.
Compromise – Pick one or two starches.
Mashed potatoes or stuffing?
Creamy fruit salads or pie?
Load up on fresh salads and vegetables.
Eat slowly and socialize while eating.
Survey the offerings before getting in line – PLAN.
Don’t “save up” your calories. This strategy usually backfires by bingeing and over-indulgence.
Eat fiber and protein at every meal and snack the day of the party.
Open-faced egg sandwich and fresh fruit
Have a light snack before so you are not overly hungry when you arrive.
Broth-based soup, salad or half a sandwich
Avoid tricky beverages
Empty stomach + alcohol = increase in appetite.
Try drinking your beverage in a tall skinny glass – this tricks the eyes into thinking you have more.
Drink a glass of water or club soda between drinks.
Opt for lower-calorie beverages or mixers.
Bundle up and go on a walk with the whole family post-dinner.
Play a game that gets you moving. My grandma used to have a Nintendo Wii and we used to play boxing, bowling, or baseball before dinner—that got us to work up a sweat.
Megan Groh is the local Austin Hy-Vee dietitian. Registered Dietitians offer a credible source of food and nutrition information. Hy-Vee Nutrition Services include nutrition tours, health screenings, medical nutrition therapy, cooking classes, and kid’s events.
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