I love this time of year, but I know that for many people it can be dreadful and overwhelming especially where food is concerned. From Halloween until New Years we are often surrounded by sweets and treats…leftover Halloween candy, pumpkin pie, eggnog, Christmas cookies, chips, gravy, butter, rolls, etc. Don’t get me wrong, I love treats, I just don’t like them lingering around my mid-section.
A research study by The New England Journal of Medicine found that most people gain at least 1 pound or more (sometime a lot more) each holiday season, EVERY YEAR. The problem is that most people never lose it!
The good news is that holiday weight gain is not inevitable. It is possible to enjoy this time of year while not allowing food to run your life, BUT you need a plan. A strategy. With Thanksgiving behind us and dozens more holiday parties ahead of us, make up your mind to have a happy and healthy holiday season.
Here are 10 tips for a healthier holiday season:
1. Eat breakfast – We all know it’s the “most important meal of the day” but seriously, making it a habit will reduce your likelihood of overeating later in the day…plus it will give your metabolism a healthy boost!
2. Healthier options - If you would love to see some healthier options on the holiday party menu, consider bringing them. Check out the recipes below for some ideas.
3. Get moving early in the day – Clearly, there are many benefits to regular physical activity, but did you know that exercising early in the day has some added benefits like improved productivity, fewer scheduling conflicts, increased metabolism, and better diet, sleep and long-term results? It’s true.
4. Portion sizes - Sometimes it’s not what we’re eating, but how much.
5. Water – Staying properly hydrated can go a long way in terms of preventing overeating. Try filling up on at least 8 oz of water before making your way through the buffet line.
6. Don’t show up to a party as hungry as a wildebeest - Have you ever seen a wildebeest? Not pretty. You’d be surprised how many people beat themselves up for “lacking self control” when in reality their bodies just need nourishment. Making time for meals and snacks will keep blood sugar levels stable and reduce the chance of binge eating later in the day.
7. Go easy on alcohol - It’s not called a beer belly for nothing. Alcohol is loaded with calories and unless those calories are used up, they will be stored as fat. Keep in mind these general guidelines: 1.5 oz shot of hard liquor has about 100 calories, 5 oz red wine has about 130 calories, and 12 oz beer has about 150 calories. You do the math.
8. Get more sleep – A research study by Columbia University found that people who get too little sleep tend to overeat…and often make bad food choices. So get your zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!
9. You’re not in a race - Make time to enjoy your food and the company of your friends and family!
10. Go easy on the extras - You would be surprised how quickly all those little “extras” can add up. Let’s see…28 peanut M&M’s, 2 candy canes, 11 Doritos, 5 mini peanut butter cups = 514 calories!
Here are some healthier holiday recipes to consider…
Pumpkin Pie Bars – by Scrumptiously Skinny
Skinny Peanut Butter Cups – by Dashing Dish
Kale & Ricotta Stuffed Shells – by A Food Centric Life
Spinach Tofu Dip – by Keep Your Diet Real