For many, Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season. For some, it marks anxiety and worry about weight gain during the holidays.
Many people wonder how it is possible to enjoy the holidays without paying the price on the scale. The good news is that it is possible.
Here are some tips that can help you:
- Plan special events in advance. If you’re going to a party or dinner during the holidays, balance your fat and calorie intake earlier in the day, or the night before, with foods that are low in fat and calories.
- Consider adding additional fat-burning workouts to repair the damage caused by excessive consumption.
- To avoid overeating, have a healthy, filling snack a few hours before an event, such as raw vegetables with hummus or an apple with low-fat cottage cheese.
- When you get to the food table, choose a smaller plate.
- Balance the foods you choose with protein selections.
- Watch your portions. Small portions can allow you to taste more foods.
- Bring a tasty, yet healthy dish to the party – something you really enjoy – to share with other guests and have fun with.
- Limit your splurges. Discover all the dishes of this holiday and be strategic about what you choose. Pick the high-fat, high-calorie dish you want the most and make sure your other choices are healthier.
- Decide in advance not to back off a few seconds.
- Eat slowly. Savor the food and give your brain time to tell your body that it’s full. It usually takes about 20 minutes.
- Physically distance yourself from the food table when you are done eating, preferably in another room.
- Limit liquid calories. These drinks can add up in more ways than one.
- Get the dance started after eating or consider having a leisurely stroll with other guests.
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Are you traveling for the holidays? Consider packing healthy snacks to avoid high-fat, sugary, and high-calorie foods at airports or gas stations. Here are some examples :
- Fresh fruits
- Low Fat Crackers
- Pretzels or pretzel chips
- Pop corn
- Cereal bars or low-fat snacks
- Mini bagels
- Cereals ready to eat
- Sandwich halves such as peanut butter and jelly
- Cut vegetables and hummus
- String cheese
- flavored water
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Another important strategy is to weigh yourself daily while on vacation.
The number may be hard to swallow, especially if you’ve been indulging in the past few days, but it will help keep you mindful and encourage you to exercise caution in the food choices you make this holiday season.
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Finally, try to remember that the joy of the holiday season isn’t just in what you can eat or drink. Reunite with friends and family, enjoy old memories and create new ones.
Renee Slabic is a dietitian at Saint Vincent Hospital.