Holiday Survival 101: Protecting Your Waistline During the Holidays

Heather Reese Health Guide
  • I can hardly believe it is December and the holiday season is upon us. For most, the following weeks turn into a whirlwind of shopping, wrapping, baking and attending holiday parties. Dieting pitfalls and temptations are everywhere. Holiday parties, open houses, free candy samples at the mall, baking for your child’s school holiday party, co-workers bringing in holiday cookies and treats – I don’t think there is another time of the year when it is so easy to overeat.

    However, you can avoid putting on those extra holiday pounds and still enjoy the tidings of the season. With a little planning ahead, compromise and healthy choices, you can wake up January 2nd without a bigger credit card bill and a bigger waistline. Below are some tips to help you eat healthy during the holiday season.
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    Holiday Healthy Eating

    While the next two months can be a food-filled frenzy, you can take steps to make sure you keep your eating in check.

    1. Be a picky eater. You don’t have to indulge every time you have the chance. Pick and choose your holiday treats.

    2. Just say no. Alcohol has a lot of calories that are stored in your body as fat. It can also lower your inhibitions and lead you to overeat. If you do drink alcohol during the holiday season, do so in moderation.

    3. Don’t abandon your healthy cooking methods.
    There are plenty of ways to prepare your favorite dishes with less fat and calories but all the flavor. Use non-stick cooking spray, choose lower fat meats, use skim milk and flavor with herbs and spices.

    4. Beware of high calorie holiday drinks. Consuming high calorie beverages, like egg nog, have hundreds of extra calories and can result in weight gain. This doesn’t mean you can’t indulge in the occasional season beverage, but don’t forget to count the calories you’re drinking too.

    5. Be realistic. You are probably going to overindulge during the holiday season and that is ok. Being realistic about how you will handle food during the holiday season may prevent you from viewing any treat as a “mess up.” If you eat something you didn’t plan on, don’t view the day as ruined – instead focus on eating healthfully for the remainder of the day.

    Holiday Party Tips

    Holiday parties don’t have to be a dieting disaster, with a little thought and some planning ahead – you can enjoy the festivities without feeling guilty in the morning.

    1. Never go to a party hungry.
    You should eat normally throughout the day leading up to the party and try to have a small snack before leaving your house. If you are starving when you get there you are probably going to overeat.

    2. Don’t overdo it on the hors d’oeurves. Don’t load up on the pre-meal fare – those calories count too.

    3. Use a small plate. If you are attending a party that has a buffet, take your plate from the dessert table. These plates are much smaller and you are more likely to dish out smaller portions if you have less room on your plate.

    4. Window shop first. Don’t jump right into the buffet line. Take a quick survey of what’s available and pick and choose which items you will try.

  • 5. Balance is the key. Mix it up by choosing fruits, vegetables and other low-fat options and then one or two of the less-healthy holiday fare.
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    6. Step away from the buffet. Avoid socializing in the kitchen or next to the buffet table. If you are in arms reach of the food, you are more likely to eat mindlessly and over consume calories.

    7. Avoid add-ons. Butter, gravies, and salad dressings can add lots of unnecessary calories. Use these add-ons sparingly.

    8. Say no to seconds. Most holiday fare is high in calories and fat. Fill your plate once and try not to go back for seconds. If you must, take second helpings of healthier choices like salad and fruit.

    Maintaining your workout schedule during the holiday season can also help you combat those extra calories and give you a leg up on the New Years resolution gym joiners come January 1.

    Find healthy holiday recipes at FoodFit.com.
Published On: December 11, 2006