The holidays can be a tough time for watching calories and maintaining your activity goals. Try to set a goal to maintain your weight at this time. Typical weight gain can range from 1-5 lbs. from Halloween to New Years. Don’t let this worry you; enjoy the holidays without overindulging following these simple suggestions.
1. Keep some level of activity going- try to move daily! Walking, parking farther away, taking the stairs, and /or going to the gym. Any level of activity is better than no activity. Even mall walking can count!
2. Never go to a party hungry- have a snack ahead of time to curb your appetite. Something with fiber or protein is good for appetite control, like a yogurt, handful of nuts, or piece of fruit. Have your snack about 30 minutes before the event so you’re not overly hungry. If you are too hungry it can be hard to control the extra picking on chips or appetizers before the actual dinner, plus the portions will probably be more taking in extra calories.
3. Focus on the veggies- load your plate with salad or other raw or cooked vegetables to fill you up with out the extra calories. Beware of the dressings, try to use oil & vinegar or another vinegar based dressing that you can drizzle. Vegetables are low in calories but high in fiber, and water, which makes them fill you up.
4. Move around the room- focus on the people, instead of hanging around the foods. Be conscious to keep busy helping the cook or socialize with the guests to stay preoccupied. Hanging around the buffet table can be trouble and hard to resist mindless eating.
5. Bring or make healthier options- If you are the host serve some healthier options using recipe substitutions. Recipes can be analyzed in the Nutopia online tools to see the nutritional content. From there you can choose to substitute alternative ingredients or eliminate extras, like too much salt or sugar. If you are a guest, try to bring a healthy dish to share. It could be a fruit platter, or vegetables. This is a healthy option for you and other guests to enjoy!
6. Watch your Liquid calories- Sweetened beverages, and alcohol can increase our calorie intake, so limit quantities. Try to avoid sodas, and stick to flavored seltzers or water. Keep alcohol in moderation, drinking water in between. Try to stick to no more than 2 alcoholic beverages for better calorie control. Alcohol increases the appetite and lowers inhibitions, which can challenge our ability to control food intake and overall calories!
7. When your full, stop eating- Tune into the body’s hunger/fullness cues. When you start getting full, stop eating. This can be a hard practice but the more you do it the better. It becomes easier to be aware and control, when you put this goal into action. We want to avoid mindless eating, which can add extra calories. Try to eat slower too, which can enhance the experience by savoring the flavors. Slowing down is another good practice for consuming less because you are tuned in and give your body ample time for the fullness to kick in.
8. Have a Plan to handle dessert time- Try to choose 1 favorite sweet, and pair it with a fruit if it is available. This allows you to meet your sweet craving in a controlled way, and the fruit has fiber, which can fill you up. Take a small helping of the sweet treat and eat it slowly. Savor every bite!
Janet Brancato is a Registered Dietitian based out of Glen Rock, NJ. She works with clients online, over the phone, and face to face.