The holidays are a wonderful time to gather with friends and family. However, gatherings often lead to unwanted pounds. How will you handle the challenge the holiday season brings with a hectic schedule and endless choices of high calorie foods? The good news is that there are strategies that can help to control stress and keep your weight on track.
- Maintain a regular exercise schedule. It may be tempting to skip your workout to accommodate a busy to do list but regular exercise is important to stay fit and control stress.
- Maintain a regular eating schedule. This means to avoid skipping meals. If you skip a meal and go to a holiday feast you are setting yourself up to overeat.
- Bring a healthy dish to a party so you have a low calorie option. For example, a vegetable tray is a great substitution for typical party appetizers.
- Take the edge off your hunger by having a high fiber snack before leaving for a party. Fiber helps keep you full. An apple or a pear can do just the trick.
- When you first arrive at a gathering drink two glasses of water before eating.
- Start holiday meals with a plate of vegetables. The idea is to get full on low calorie foods so you will not overeat calorie rich foods such as casseroles and desserts.
- Be careful with drinks. Alcoholic beverages are high in calories so drink calorie free beverages such as water or seltzer.
- Control your serving sizes by using a dessert plate for your meal. This encourages you to reduce portion sizes. Be careful not go back for second helpings.
- Reduce temptations by avoiding hanging around the food table.
- For high calorie foods aim to have just a taste or half of what is served.
- Slow down when you eat by putting your fork down between bites.
- Leave some food on your plate. There is no rule that says you have to “clean your plate”.
- Learn that is it ok to say no to a food from a well meaning relative. You are the one who decides what to put in your body.
- When you attend a party find a way to avoid sitting for the majority of the time. However, sit down and enjoy your meal when you are ready to eat.
- Stick to a regular sleep schedule so you do not get overtired. When we are not getting enough sleep the body gives us a signal to eat more food.
A holiday survival plan includes physical activity, healthy eating and adequate rest. You have the power to take control of your behaviors even during holidays and parties. Eating foods in moderation is the key to prevent weight gain. For a more personalized approach to holiday eating seek help from a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist.