‘Tis the season for family, friends, festivities and… a lot of food. It’s no question that the holidays are accompanied by a surplus of delicious foods that tend to be higher in calories, fat and carbohydrates.
However, between the parties, holiday shopping and baking, it’s also a time when people may gain weight. The good news is that staying healthy during the holidays can be simple. Former OrthoIndy clinical nutrition manager, Jessica Regan, provides five helpful tips to avoid holiday snacking.
Five tips on how to stay healthy during the holidays
- Eat a well-balanced breakfast. Eat a breakfast that includes at least 15 grams of protein. This will keep you feeling fuller longer and prevent you from over-eating later in the day.
- Avoid standing near appetizers or snack bowls. In a social setting, people are more likely to overeat if food is nearby and when you’re standing next to it.
- Choose a small plate. The larger the plate, the more room there is to pile on food and snacks. Have you heard the phrase, “your eyes are bigger than your stomach?”
- Increase your vegetable and fruit intake. Instead of a cheese-filled appetizer opt for fresh vegetables and hummus or fresh fruit and yogurt. Vegetables and fruit are low-calorie foods and can also make you feel full so that you’re less likely to overeat when the main entrée arrives.
- Drink plenty of water. By drinking water throughout the day, you can stay well-hydrated and prevent mistaking thirst for hunger.
During the holiday season, unhealthy snacks such as cookies or chocolate tend to be available to you at any point throughout the day. Luckily, you can use alternative ingredients to make your meals and snacks healthier.
Holiday diet tips
- Snack on yogurt dips instead of full-fat dips (save 170 calories)
- Eat sweet potatoes instead of candied yams (save 120 calories)
- Bring mashed cauliflower as an appetizer instead of mashed potatoes (save 60 calories)
- Recommend someone to bring fresh green beans instead of green bean casserole (save 100 calories)
- Make a dessert with a crustless pumpkin pie (save 150 calories)
- Sip on hot cider instead of eggnog (save 170 calories)
If you are serious about controlling your weight over the holidays, it may be helpful to draw the line and set goals or limits for yourself. Remember it is okay to indulge in an unhealthy snack here and there, but be mindful and aware of how much you are eating.
People tend to abandon their goals after eating an unhealthy snack. This is where you should use self-discipline and stick to your goals.
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