“Geez, I’d really like to put on a couple of pounds this holiday season!” – said no one, EVER!
Did you know the average person gains 1 to 2 pounds between Thanksgiving and Christmas? With all the parties, baking and goodies galore, this is no surprise. With a little planning and preparation, you can enjoy the holiday season and still have your party pants fit come 2013!
Here are a few tips to keep the weight at bay:
Watch out for “Tiny Tastes”
Extra calories can really sneak in over the holidays and they don’t always come in large portions. How many of you have popped a chocolate covered cherry in your mouth without a second thought? 70 calories. Free eggnog samples at the grocery store; why not? 90 calories. While these amounts don’t seem like much, over the course of a day – they can really add up!
Remember to be mindful about all the food you eat. Don’t eat something just because it is in front of you. Make a mental note of what you are about to eat and why. For example, if a coworker brings Christmas cookies to share at work, take a moment to think about the cookie before eating it. Ask yourself “Is this something I actually like or am I eating it just because it is here and easy?” If you answer the former, go ahead, but be conscious of it, savor it and factor it into the rest of your day’s eating plan. If the answer is the latter, don’t eat it! There will likely be some holiday baked goodies in the near future that you really like.
Beware of Grazing the Buffet Line
Many holiday parties are centered on heavy appetizers, cocktails and sweets. Grazing the appetizer tables without a plan allows us to easily lose track of how much we’ve consumed (especially if alcohol is involved).
To better manage the holiday buffet, look over the entire spread before you make your choices and identify the foods you really love. Then grab a small appetizer plate and choose the foods that are your favorite. Just because the buffet line has 20 choices doesn’t mean you have to try all of them. After you have made your selections, move away from the buffet line and start up a conversation with a friend or new acquaintance. The night doesn’t have to be all about food and drinks – make it about the people!
Eat Normally Throughout the Day
“I’m going to have an apple for breakfast, a piece of string cheese for lunch and then I can really pig out at the party tonight!”
Great idea, right? Wrong! The whole idea of “saving up” for a holiday party rarely works. You walk in starving, decadent food is everywhere and you are more likely to overeat.
Be sure to eat a normal breakfast and lunch before a party; try to include nutrient-rich foods that will help you feel full longer. Some people find it helpful to also eat dinner before attending an evening party and then avoid the buffet line completely. But remember, depriving yourself of special holiday foods or feeling guilty when you do enjoy them is not a healthful eating strategy. Find a balance so you can enjoy all aspects of the holiday season – including the food!
Here are a few more tips to stay healthy this holiday season:
- Keep physically active by maintaining a workout routine and finding fun activities you can do with family and friends like sledding, ice skating or cross country skiing.
- Drink lots of water
- Maintain a balance – don’t eat or drink excessively
- Focus on the people, not the food