It’s the holidays! Bring on the food!
This is basically what comes to my mind when the days get a bit shorter, and warm comfort foods start making their appearance around the dinner tables. Maybe you share a similar mindset.
Does your life consist of ‘being good' during spring and summer and ‘being bad' during the holidays and then beating yourself up when you get home and hop on the scales? Do you shudder at the thought of facing your personal trainer when you've regained the pounds you worked so hard to lose?
According to the US National Library of Medicine, an average overweight American gains 5 lb or more during the holidays such as Christmas, New Years and Thanksgiving, while those that aren't overweight gain an average of 1 lb during the same period.
The holidays bring a wonderful atmosphere, more parties, more food, shorter days, more activities and less time to do them. The combination of all these reduce people's activity levels, increase their calorific consumption, and transform their bodies into fat storing machines instead of burning fat. Sorry for the harsh truth, but we both know it’s true.
That’s why we’ve come up with some easy tips and tricks to make sure you still get to enjoy the holidays without putting on any of that dreaded holiday weight. You'll have momentum going into the New Year that will kick start your year on a good step and light foot.
Opt for Healthier Options First
Stick to a healthy, low-glycemic meals or snacks, such as whole grains, brown rice, pears, apples, nuts, beans, vegetables or chicken, just to mentions a few. Don't do yourself an injustice by completely avoiding savory foods and sweets because without them there's no party. However, these should be taken in small proportions and must come second.
Whether you’re going to work parties, getting gift packages, or enjoying meals at the homes of family and friends, you’re going to be surrounding, and tempted, by a lot of unhealthy goodies. Now, it’s important that you indulge, a little, in these treats, but make the conscious decision to take small portions of the sugary goodies and make sure they come second to other foods.
Try and stick to the healthier options and snacks as your main source of fuel such as whole grains, brown rice, pears, apples, nuts, beans, vegetables or chicken, just to mentions a few. There should be plenty of options to choose from, so you won’t have to worry about missing out on good food.
Also keep in mind, you can re-gift sweets and cookies, to a party or dinner event instead of eating them. That way, you still can have a few, if you must, but won’t be tempted to eat the whole thing.
Plate Size Matters
Make careful choices when choosing the size of your plate or when filling it with food. If the plate is bigger, you'll tend to put more food on it. Begin by putting plenty of vegetables on your plate and then see how much room is left for the more caloric foods. Go easy on the condiments, sauces, white pasta, potato or rice, and other simple carbohydrates.
Take Time to Enjoy Your Food
Take your time to notice what's on your plate – the color, smell, flavor and texture. Eat with chop sticks or put your fork down after each bite. Digestion begins in your mouth so, chew your food thoroughly and eat slowly. This way you can also better appreciate the deliciousness in front of you.
Avoid distractions while you eat; turn the TV off, don't read the newspaper, text messages, social media sites or email. Your brain doesn’t realize you’re full until long after your stomach does. By distracting yourself, it’s easy to keep shoving food into your mouth way past the point of enjoyment.
Bring a Healthy Dish as Your Contribution
Never assume that you'll find something healthy at the party, so it is a good idea to bring a side dish that's healthy yourself. You’ll probably be surprised at how many people will welcome this healthy addition to the food lineup.
Many people begin their holiday eating habits before the actual holiday, and probably could use some tasty light options to mix in with the heavier foods.
Limit the Eggnog
What is Christmas without eggnog? I mean really. BUT, if it’s the taste you’re after, and not the actual drink itself, there are a lot of healthier, lower calorie options.
If you could choose between eating four eggnog-flavored cookies instead of drinking eight ounces of grocery bought eggnog, which would you prefer? You can often make cookies, or other snacks, with a butter and vegetable oil blend instead of 100% butter to reduce the fat calories. Get the taste without the all the calories.
I am a fan of food and part of the reason why I enjoy the holidays so much is because of all the food I get to indulge in. I’ll never be one to say, just skip all the treats, but I do think it is totally possibly to get through the holiday season without putting on the pounds and vowing to join the gym as your New Year’s resolution. Just keep the above tips in mind, and you’ll still be able to treat your taste buds. Happy holidays indeed.