Healthy holidays—healthy you!

By Lena Gill, RD, CSO
The holiday season is here, and many of us look forward to celebrating traditions with our family and friends. Most of these celebrations include food and the temptation to overindulge. This can lead to the well-known, seemingly inevitable 5- to 10-pound weight gain many of us experience every year.

A typical holiday menu, including turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green bean casserole, dinner roll with butter, cranberry sauce, wine, pumpkin pie with whipped topping, and coffee with liquor can total 5,000 calories and 192 grams of fat! And that’s without any Christmas cookies or candy.

So, what can we do to avoid adding pounds between Thanksgiving and New Year’s?

Try these holiday survival tips:

  • Set realistic goals—do not skip meals
  • Take care of yourself—slow down to decrease stress levels
  • Exercise regularly—this helps to decrease your stress levels and appetite (Remember that for many of us, STRESSED = DESSERTS!)

Plan ahead

When cooking at home:

  • Chew gum
  • Freeze goodies in small containers
  • Let someone else do the taste testing

Holiday parties—moderation, not deprivation

  • Snack before you go—hungry stomachs can sabotage discipline
  • For a gift, bring a low-fat dessert or a fruit or veggie tray with low-fat dip
  • Rush to greet people, not the food—avoid hanging out at the food table
  • Look over the buffet line and decide what you really want—you don’t need to have everything, just your favorites
  • Leave food on your plate
  • Instead of second helpings, ask the host or hostess for recipes of dishes you’re having a hard time resisting
  • Be assertive with a well-intentioned host or hostess, and just say no
  • Most of all, enjoy!

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