Sunday, December 14, 2014

How to Handle Holiday Eating

Who doesn’t love the holidays with freshly baked cookies, eggnog, boxes of chocolates given as gifts and food buffets galore?  So how does one eat their way through the holidays without gaining 10 pounds?  The Washington Post provided some helpful guidelines in their 5 ways to fight the winter holiday bulge 
      1.   Holiday Party - beverages  - Stay hydrated 

  •  Eat something before you go – don’t get to the party starving as you will then overeat.  Try some salad and some protein so you won’t be over hungry at the start of the party.   
  •  If cocktails, other alcoholic drinks are offered, have a drink or two.  But alcohol can affect your judgment and then affect how much you eat.  Rebecca Scritchfield, R.D. suggests alternating alcoholic drinks with regular beverages such as sparkling water.  Having ice water is another way to stay hydrated at a party.  
       2.   Buffets
  • Go over the lineup of food and decide what you really want to eat.  Treating yourself occasionally is fine so if it is a food you really want, take some.  (Not seconds, thirds and fourths, but some).
  •  Eat slowly, enjoy conversation with those around you.  Pay attention to what you are eating and how much.  By eating slowly your body has a better chance to let you know when you are full.
  • Don't Finish everything on your plate – maybe what you mother recommended was to eat everything on your plate, but not a recommendation you have to follow as an adult.  Eat what you want and it is OK to leave some food on your plate.
  •  Rather than count calories – count food groups – take some protein, whole grains, fruits, vegetables to balance out the higher calorie options like fried foods.   
  3.   Family Guests/Visits
  • Don’t feel pressured into eating what your parents, hosts offer.  Scritchfield recommends, “Thank you.  It looks food, but I am not really hungry.  Maybe later?”
  • Offer to bring a food item you know you can eat and enjoy.
  • Or offer to help out in the kitchen and create a fruit salad, vegetable salad or other food item you can eat.  
 4.   Gaining weight – so despite your best efforts you put on a pound or two over the holidays.  Don’t dismay, just take some steps to lose that pound or two early in the year. 
  •  Say no to the latest crazy diet phase.   Cut out foods high in fat and those with added sugar would go a long ways to cutting back on calories.
  •  Add in some exercise – a walk after dinner, an exercise class once a week at the gym or maybe even your place of work. 
  5.  Move more – the holidays are a great time to sit and visit with family and friends.  But remember to keep moving – walking, going to the gym, parking far from the entrance door, taking the stairs. 
  •  Find ways to keep moving through the holiday rush of parties and visiting
  • Strength training – often overlooked as many people just focus on aerobics.   But strength training builds muscle and tones you.  And muscle burns more calories than fat so strength training can increase the number of calories you burn every day. 
Enjoy the holiday parties and food.  Use these tips to keep  from gaining during the holiday season. 

Sources:  5 ways to fight the winter holiday bulge,  Image Source:  Holiday buffet

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