Editor’s Note: This post created by Guest Blogger: Katie Graham MS, Dietetic Intern
Is it just me or does the holiday season come faster every year? Of course, with the season comes parties and events packed with festive foods. On average Americans gain 1-2 pounds between Halloween and New Year’s. Without change, these additional pounds can start to add up over the years. Luckily, with a few slight tweaks, you can stay on track and be one step ahead of holiday weight gain.
Healthy Habit #1 – Look out for Liquid Calories
Alcoholic and sugar- sweetened beverages are a major source of empty calories. Make water your beverage of choice, try adding cranberries or oranges for a festive twist.
Healthy Habit #2 – Snack Attack
Calorie intake before the meal can often be as much as the meal itself. So, limiting your food intake to the main course is best. If you do choose to partake pick a small amount of your favorite appetizer and pair with an array of fruits and veggies so you are not tempted to go back for more.
Healthy Habit #3 – Vary your plate
You can make half your plate vegetables, by using a larger serving utensil for vegetable dishes. Choose a lean protein option like; white meat turkey without the skin, ham with the fat cut off, or beans. Skip the roll with butter; it won’t be missed. Pick a small amount of one of your favorites like potatoes, stuffing, or macaroni for a well-balanced meal. For increased calorie savings try using low-fat plain Greek yogurt in place of butter or swapping out traditional potatoes for a cauliflower mash.
Healthy Habit #4 – Get Creative with Desserts
Make healthy substitutions when baking. Cook with unsweetened applesauce or mashed ripe bananas instead of butter. Use spices such as cinnamon, allspice, or nutmeg instead of salt to add flavor. To save more calories choose a mini portion of your favorite dessert and don’t go back for seconds.
Healthy Habit #5 – Focus on More than the Meal
Eat slowly during the meal so you have time to feel full and enjoy the company of others. After the meal steer social activities away from the table. My family enjoys making memories by being active together during the holidays. Each year we hold our own Turkey Trot!
Healthy Habit #6 – Relax
Give yourself a break! If you feel stressed out or overwhelmed over the holidays find support, connect socially, and get plenty of sleep. You can also try mediation, breathing exercises, and yoga.