It’s that time of year again! Baking, cooking, and gatherings with our friends and family are the highlights of the season. The Holiday’s are a beautiful time, but they also influence many of us to worry about overeating and weight gain. I did a little research and developed a few of the best guidelines to help us all get though the holidays happy, energized, and healthy for the new year!
- Don’t arrive hungry
Just as you never go to the grocery store when you’re hungry, you shouldn’t go to a holiday gathering hungry either. That’s a sure way to overeat. When hungry, people tend to serve themselves too much food and eat a lot more than they need. Which leads me to the next tip….
- Pace yourself
The food isn’t going anywhere people, pace yourselves in the beginning. This will help you recognize when your body is signaling when it’s full. Studies show that slower eating speeds are associated with weight loss and maintenance. Such a simple concept but it takes practice if you’re accustomed to eating fast.
- Portion sizes and Moderation are Key
These two methods will be your best friends when pacing yourself. Now I don’t know about you but I usually don’t carry around a measuring spoon to holiday parties. Instead what you can do is take one spoonful (Serving Spoons are pretty large) from the dishes you want, and if you really enjoy one particular dish go back and grab seconds. IF you’re still hungry. Remember #2?
- Limit the Booze
1-2 drinks for women, 2-3 for men. How much is a drink?
- Beer (12 oz = 1 can)
- Wine (5 oz = a little more than 1/2 of a cup)
- Hard liquor (1.5 fl oz)
I know harder than it seems but it will help keep off the pounds.
- Limit Soda and Sweetened Beverages
Why drink your calories when you can eat them? Here’s a fun fact, a 12 oz. soda is an average of 38g of sugar. That can be 1 or two slices of pie (depending on the type of pie and who’s baking it). A study conducted in California found that adults who drink one or more sodas every day are 27% more likely to be overweight or obese than those who don’t drink soda. Think of water as your secret weapon against holiday weight gain! Better for your health and skin too!
- Be picky about desserts
Don’t skip on your favorite dessert, most of the desserts made during this time of year are only made during the holidays. On the same note be picky, don’t have 5 candy canes, 4 cookies, and then pie. Save your craving for that one dessert you really enjoy (mine is apple pie!).
- Bring your own dessert!
When you know what’s in it you feel better about eating it. You can also reduce the amount of sugar when you bake, trust me there’s no need for 1 cup of sugar in ANY recipe. And who doesn’t like the person who shows up to the party with dessert!?
- Walk it off
I can’t stress this enough. It helps when properly digesting food and takes away any feelings of being bloated after eating. Go for a nice walk after dinner, you’ll feel energized and healthy while everyone is in their “food coma”. You might even inspire them to follow your lead. We can only hope!
Have a wonderful and healthy holiday season!
- Sharon Palmer, RD. The Real Scoop on Sugar. Today’s Dietitian, Vol. 14 No. 10 P. 28.
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- What’s a Standard Drink? ReThinking Drinking. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov/How-much-is-too-much/What-counts-as-a-drink/Whats-A-Standard-Drink.aspx