As visions of chocolates, sugar cookies and other tasty holiday treats dance through your head and onto your lips, here are three sure-fire ways to keep those extra pounds off your hips. For some people, holiday eating means abandoning sensible everyday choices to indulge in overeating and then worry about the weight gain and feeling unwell afterwards. In the New Year, this leads to the inevitable dieting quick fixes and unrealistic resolutions. To avoid this unhealthy holiday food cycle, let’s eat, drink…in moderation and be merry.
1. Don’t Skip Meals to Overeat at the Party
Often, clients tell me that they don’t eat all day so they can splurge at the holiday dinner party that evening. Good idea? No! In anticipation of a feast, eat a healthy, balanced breakfast and lunch to ensure that you are not famished when you arrive at the party. In fact, if the event starts late, it is wise to have a high protein snack (e.g. half a sandwich with ½ cup of plain Greek yogurt) in the late afternoon. Research shows that eating balanced, healthy, calorie-controlled meals and snacks throughout the day assists in maintaining a constant weight.
2. Do Skip the Desserts in Cups
My blog about festive beverages reminds you to be aware and mindful of the calorie wallop in these drinks. You can consume close to 500 calories and may not even realize the peppermint mocha frappacino, sugar cookie white hot chocolate and eggnog latte are packed full of empty calories. Instead order a black Americano or coffee to go and enjoy your favourite homemade treat or sweet along with it. At least then you won’t be fooled by the liquid indulgent full of hidden calories. Don’t forget about water. Drinking water will help you feel fuller, so you’re less tempted to overeat, and you’ll look better staying hydrated.
3. Do Enjoy the Healthy and Delicious Foods of the Season
Many of your favourite holiday foods are stuffed with nutrition. If you practice portion control and tweak preparation techniques, you’ll walk away from the generous dinner table with health benefits and energy and not slumped over in a food coma.
Cranberries are the holiday red jewels packed with the antioxidant proanthocyanidins. They are a good source of fibre (promotes digestive health), vitamins C (good for immune health) and K (promotes bone health). Antioxidant-rich cranberries combat oxidative stress and decrease inflammation. Both actions promote immune health. A ¼ cup serving of fresh cranberries is only 12 calories. Personally, I love the tart taste of these fresh berries and eat them year round.
The turkey is the traditional food associated with Christmas in North America. Turkey is an excellent source of niacin and vitamin B12, and a good source of selenium, which is a mineral that has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties good for immune and fitness health. A 100 gram serving of turkey breast (the size of a deck of cards) with the skin is only 160 calories, has 32 grams of protein (good for immune and bone health), and only 8 grams of fat.
What Holiday menu is complete without the wholesome goodness of warm, delicious immune boosting winter vegetables? Brussels sprouts, cabbage, parsnips, squash and sweet potatoes not only add flavour, texture and colour but will give a healthy punch to any holiday meal. Sweet potatoes are one of nature’s unsurpassed sources of beta carotene, an antioxidant that is responsible for the vegetable’s orange colour. Beta-carotene promotes eye, skin and immune health. And a ½ cup serving (baked) is only 90 calories.
Add up these three simple but effective tips, get enough sleep, minimize stress and continue to be active over the holidays and you’ll be well-prepared to enjoy a happy, healthy season.
Wishing you a Wonderful Holiday Season and I look forward to sharing more
Grow with Nutrition Blogs with you in 2016!