The holidays are upon us, and staying healthy can sometimes be a challenge. Food is a huge part of American culture, heritage and family traditions, and it can be difficult to push back from the table at many holiday celebrations.
For many of us, food represents comfort and the smell of turkey triggers numerous joyous memories of childhood. However, studies have shown that a few extra cookies or a slice a pie each day during the holiday season can add 4-5 unwanted pounds in only a few short weeks.
So ask, how can I enjoy the multitude of desserts at the office holiday party, and still fit into those jeans in January? Well, here a few tips to help you stay healthy and not overeat during the holidays:
1. Eat Small Amounts of Those Comfort Foods You Love – Don’t deprive yourself. Enjoy a small piece of pie or one cookie, but not both. Select one item that looks yummy and that you know you will enjoy. Fill your plate with healthy vegetables, fruits, whole grain crackers, cheese and lean meats. Also, split a holiday entrée with a friend/relative when dining out. Portion control is key.
2. Don’t Hang Around the Table or Buffet – Mingle with friends and family. I know it is hard to resist the delicious food calling your name. Choose your items to eat, and then move to a different part of the room if you can. In most cases, you will think twice before walking back to the table.
3. Eat Light and Fluffy Desserts – Select the angel food cake or sponge cake with fruit, instead of pound cake. Eat mousse (which is whipped with air) instead of chocolate pudding and egg custard. Keep it light and low in calories.
4. Drink Lots of Water – Mild dehydration can sometimes feel like hunger, so avoid this feeling and drink water. Water can also be used to slow down your eating by taking a sip or two between bites. Also have a glass or two of water before you start drinking alcoholic beverages, and have one in between drinks to slow down your alcohol consumption as well. Don’t forget, cocktails add calories, so be mindful.
6. Don’t Skip Meals – Breakfast is still very important. Don’t save those calories for a dig holiday meal. Not only can skipping meals make you feel tired and crabby, but it can also make you overeat when you finally have a meal. For breakfast, have a bowl of cereal or oatmeal, eat raisins and nuts for a snack, and enjoy a light salad for lunch.
7. Stay Physically Active – Have fun doing holiday inspired activities. Enjoy ice skating, going to view the holiday lights in your neighborhood, collect fall leaves and make a leaf collage, gathering pine cones, play in the snow, and build a snowman.