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Tips for Heart Healthy Eating During the Winter Holidays

Lisa Nelson Health Pro December 10, 2008
  • One major holiday down, one to go!  So, how did you do sticking with your plan to be heart healthy and lose weight?  Not so good, well don't worry it's not too late to redeem yourself.

     

    Most people gain an average of 1 pound every holiday season.  Now, what's one pound?  Doesn't seem like that big of an issue, but the problem is most do not lose this extra weight.  The pounds simply continue to add up year after year.  It may take several years before you look at yourself and wonder "what happened?" 

     

    To prevent this (or reverse past events!), you must take steps to counteract all the extra calories that go along with the holidays.  How?  Increase your physical activity these next 4-6 weeks.  Extra walks, longer workouts, increased intensity levels.

     

    Adding an extra 120 minutes of activity each week (that's less than 20 additional minutes/day), will burn an extra ~600 calories/week.  That's an extra 3600 calories burned over six weeks to compensate for the pecan pie, cookies, and alcohol.  Of course, 3600 calories only goes so far.  You must make wise decisions with the holiday meals, so you're not consuming 3000-5000 calories in one day!

     

    Tips for a Healthier Holiday: 

    1. Plan ahead - Decide if you are going to have seconds in advance and what you're going to splurge on.  For example, mashed potatoes and gravy can be loaded with calories and fat, so opt for seconds of a healthier salad or other side dish.  Be sure to plan out the desserts, too.  If pecan pie is a weakness, put in place a realistic plan.  One slice?
    2. Low Calorie Snacks - While you are visiting and waiting for the main meal to be served, snack wisely.  Select low calorie veggies to much on versus fatty appetizers.  "Save" your calories for the meal.
    3. Socialize - Take the time during your holiday meal to catch up with family and friends.  This will slow down how quickly you eat and run back for seconds.  You may find that you're full and do not need that second helping!
    4. Watch the Liquid Calories - A glass of wine can add 120 calories and eggnog 340!  Do you really need a second glass?
    5. Prepare a Healthier Dish - Is your holiday gathering a potluck?  If so, prepare a healthy alternative you like. 

    The holidays can be a big hurdle in a weight loss and heart health plan.  Holidays don't mean you can't enjoy the good food and desserts, but do so wisely!

     

    Be sure to check out our holiday eating quiz, too!

     

    If you are ready to be heart healthy and end your weight loss struggle, sign up for The Heart of Health ezine and the free e-course How to Lower Cholesterol in 8 Simple Steps".  Watch for a special Holiday Recipe and Tip Guide to help you be heart healthy this holiday season!