Holiday celebrations inevitably involve a lot of food. And as much as we look forward to these celebrations, whether a family gathering or gift exchange with friends, we also fear of enjoying it too much – and gaining extra pounds over the season.
Trying to eat healthy during the holidays is a daunting task. That, plus the absence of exercise, is the culprit of weight gain. The National Institutes of Health states that Americans, on average, gain 1 to 2 pounds during the holiday season. Those extra pounds usually become permanent baggage – leading to obesity later in life.
But there is still something you can do to avoid this. With correct planning, you can learn to balance food, activity and fun throughout the holiday season. Here are simple tips to healthy holiday eating.
1. Set a realistic goal
Don’t beat yourself up and force yourself to lose pounds during the holidays. Instead, try to maintain your current weight.
2. Shop smart
Plan your menu before the holidays come rolling in. Include plenty of fruits, lean meat, seafood, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and other food low in fat, calories, and sugar. Minimize nuts, cream sauces, gravy, and whipped cream.
3. Make time to exercise
Between holiday shopping, parties, and festive traditions, exercise is the first thing to go. However, exercise helps prevent weight gain and relieves holiday stress. Fifteen-minute brisk walks twice a day can help offset increased holiday eating. For more fun, get the whole family involved. Playing a game of flag football can make memories as well.
4. Eat slowly
Start with smaller portions and eat slowly. It takes 20 minutes for your brain to realize you’re full. Taking small bites will make you feel fuller without eating too much. Take a break before starting on your seconds. Better yet – skip seconds! Another trick is by using a smaller plate.
5. Watch what you drink
It’s easy to forget the calories in alcoholic drinks. So, rather than drinking spiked eggnog, which has more than 300 calories, go for something lighter such as light beer or a glass of
6. Use tall, narrow glasses
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7. Eat healthy food first
If you are a guest at a buffet, fill your plate with healthy food first. This may help you determine what type of food you select next. Feeling full with fruits and vegetables will also refrain you from eating spoonfuls of high-calorie food such as ham, chicken skin or creamy sauces.
8. Don’t skip meals
Many people skip certain meals to prepare for the one BIG meal. Not only does this promote binging, it can also lead to overeating. Eating breakfast can give you a burst of energy and curb your appetite. Before leaving for a party, eat a light snack to prevent you from over-indulging.
Enjoy the holidays with a little discipline but remember, the holidays only come once a year, so don’t be too hard on yourself.