Holiday Eating Tips
Attitude plays a huge part in whether we stay on our diet or not in normal circumstances, and the same applies to eating during the holiday season. My advice is, forget about “dieting” over the holiday and focus instead on trying to maintain your present weight. Since the average American gains 10-12 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, maintaining your weight (or indeed gaining just a couple of pounds) would be a huge achievement and a great way to start the New Year!
This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy your share of holiday treats – of course you can. Rather, it means keeping things under control so as to avoid helpless or mindless overeating.
Here are my favorite Top 10 Tips to help you stay on track over the holidays:
Top 10 Tips To Prevent Overeating During Holidays
1. Make sure you eat regular meals. Very often routine goes out the window during the holiday season and meals tend to be sporadic. Remember HUNGER IS THE ENEMY. All our best intentions are forgotten if we are hungry when faced with an array of delicious food.
2. Make up your mind to stick to your regular exercise routine during the holidays. Walk whenever possible, ideally taking the family with you – unless, of course, you really need to escape! Get your exercise in early – before your day fills up. But, if you can’t manage to stay in routine, remember that SOME EXERCISE is a lot better than NO EXERCISE.
3. Going to a party? Great! But, never go on an empty stomach. Have a snack before you leave the house, ideally something high protein like a handful of nuts, lean meat or chicken, a hard-cooked egg or a small piece of cheese. Also, if appropriate, offer to bring a favorite low-calorie dish to holiday parties. This way you get to have some control over what you eat.
4. It is important not to feel deprived when others are enjoying those special holiday foods. I make a point of eating the things we don’t have at other times of the year. Think about the foods that you ONLY have at Christmas and put some of those on your ‘must have’ list! Foods/snacks like chocolate, candy,chips, (most) cookies, nuts, cheese, pate, crackers are anytime-foods, so don’t waste your calories by over indulging on these.
5. Watch the alcohol! A small glass of wine or a regular light beer contains about 100 calories. A couple of drinks are fine, but not only does alcohol pile on the calories, it also stimulates the appetite and, as we all know, lowers our resistance to all sorts of temptation. I find a good trick is to alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic calorie-free drinks.
6. This is one time of year when portion control is very important. You can enjoy all your favorite foods but portion sizes of some foods need to be watched. At main meals, fill half of your plate with vegetables and go easy on the add-ons, like butter/mayo/sour cream and dressings.
7. Don’t let the stress and rush of the holiday schedule force you to rely on fast food. Use your freezer. It’s a good idea to cook some healthy meals and pop them in the freezer for emergencies. This way, no matter how hectic things get you don’t have to depend on fast-food.
8. Almost all left-over foods will freeze – such as turkey, stuffing, and desserts – so get them out of sight and into the freezer as quickly as possible.
9. Try to avoid tasting while cooking. It is amazing how many calories we consume before even starting our meal! I find snacking on raw veggies, like carrots, celery, peppers and cucumber, while cooking, really helps. Once I have something in my mouth I’m okay. Also, raw veggies are great with dips instead of things like tortilla chips.
10. Talk more, eat less. Remember holidays are not just about food. They are a time to relax and talk to friends and family, play games with the kids, go for walks together, and make plans for the year ahead.