By: Deborah Jeffery, RD LD
One key to avoiding holiday weight gain is planning ahead to establish a game plan. Some specific strategies might include:
- If you have parties to attend, do NOT starve yourself before the event in order to “save up calories”. Arriving at a party hungry, increases the probability that you will overeat. Instead, curb your appetite and put yourself in better control of food choices by having a light meal 1-2 hours before leaving for the holiday gathering.
- Do not make food the center of the party. Greet people you know – conversation is calorie free. Get a beverage and settle into the festivities before eating. Also, move your socializing away from the buffet table to prevent unconscious nibbling.
- Make just one trip to the party buffet and be selective. Choose only the foods you really want to eat, and keep portions small. Often just a taste satisfies a craving or curiosity. Besides salads, fruit and vegetables, shrimp with cocktail sauce is a great snack – virtually fat-free and high in protein, iron, and the antioxidant lycopene.
- Instead of alcohol, have a glass of mineral water with a twist of lemon or lime or a diet soda. If you really would like an alcoholic beverage, have only one. Red wine is your best bet or a white wine spritzer made with ½ wine and ½ sparkling water.
- If you know that you’ll be consuming extra calories from eating out or attending a party, increase your exercise for that day.
- If you go to a potluck dinner, bring a low calorie dish so that you’ll have at least one healthy choice available to you.
- Be aware of the high calorie content of some traditional holiday beverages. For a one cup serving (8 oz.), apple cider has 120 calories; eggnog has 350 calories (even most low fat varieties have over 200 calories); and hot mulled wine has 245 calories.
- Avoid depriving yourself of all sweets. Select one dessert and have a sensible serving size. This will help prevent any cravings you might have later on in the evening which could result in overeating at the dessert table.
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