The holiday season is officially in full gear and with it comes the tempting Thanksgiving-to-New-Year’s food fest.
During the holiday season, good eating habits spiral out of control and exercise plans are thrown out the window resulting in undesired weight gain.
With a little self-control and a few simple adjustments to your traditional approach, you can still enjoy all of the highly-anticipated feasts without sabotaging your weight, said Kristen Kizer, a registered dietitian at Houston Methodist Hospital.
“Lack of sleep, an abundance of decadent food and the stress of the holidays are the perfect storm for weight gain,” she said.
“Remind yourself how it feels to over eat and implement a personal wellness plan to get you through the holiday season without adding to your waistline.”
Kizer suggest these tips to maintain a healthy weight and still enjoy the holidays.
- Sign up for a race after the holidays. Incorporating a race during the holidays like a turkey trot or jingle bell dash is great, but signing up for a walk or 5K in January can really motivate us to move during a time of the year when we’re quick to give ourselves an excuse to skip our exercise.
- Eat breakfast. Instead of saving up all your calories for the big meal, eat a small but satisfying breakfast in the morning so you won’t be starving when you arrive. Be sure to include a protein-rich food item such as low-fat Greek yogurt.
- Cut out the casserole. Between the fried onion strings, condensed soup, and canned beans, green bean casserole lacks nutritional value. Leave this unhealthy dish off the dinner table and replace it with something healthier. Try fresh steamed green beans with some low-fat cheese sprinkled on top or roasted green beans with a little olive oil and fresh garlic.
- Eliminate the extra sweets. The Pilgrims did not add marshmallows to their sweet potatoes, and neither should you. Ditch the marshmallows and brown sugar, and enjoy the natural sweetness of the sweet potato.
- Get plenty of sleep. Getting less than six hours of sleep a night causes cravings for starchy, sugary foods (hello frosted Santa-shaped cookies) and dissolves your resolve to make healthy food decisions. Most health experts recommend at least seven hours of sleep a night to feel fully rested.
- Lighten your carb intake. Holiday meals are typically heavy in carbohydrates, so try reducing your carb consumption for the day by replacing mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower. Your guests probably won’t even notice the difference.
- Enjoy guilt-free dessert. Substitute natural applesauce for oil or butter in your dessert recipes. This simple ingredient swap not only adds moisture and flavor to baked goods, but fiber and nutrients.
- Choose alcohol or dessert. Before going out to a party decide beforehand to treat yourself with either alcohol or dessert, but not both. If you choose dessert, limit yourself. When it’s time for dessert, pick one treat and enjoy it slowly. There is no need to try every sweet on the table. As for alcohol, choose a drink with lower calories, such as a wine spritzer instead of creamy holiday drinks that can easily pack 500 calories. And remember, moderation is key.
- Prepare less food. Cut back on the amount of food you prepare for your guests. Instead of fourteen dishes, try pairing down to seven or eight dishes. By doing this you, you can save time and money and avoid eating leftovers for the several days following.
- Skip the leftovers. It’s not the meal that gets us, it’s the fact that we then eat Thanksgiving for the next three days. Decline taking party leftovers or limit the number of dishes you prepare.
News source: Houston Methodist.
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