It’s that time of year again! The time for pumpkin spice lattes, candy, large family-style meals, pies, and the dreaded additional pounds that come with it all. The holidays can be such a tough time to stick to a meal plan or stay on track to your goal weight. So, what can you do to feel not so terrible come January first? Here are a couple of ideas that may tip the scale in your direction when the holidays are over.
A tendency I have noticed over the years, when counseling patients during the holiday season, is for people to skip meals to save calories for their holiday event. What then happens is over eating and an increased desire for more high calorie/high fat foods. Skipping meals does not end up saving calories in the long run. Make sure you still have three balanced meals on the days of your holiday festivities. Portion control is the way to go. Have a healthy balanced breakfast, then have small portions at your holiday event and take some home for later. This way you still get all the foods you want but are not over eating all at once and, as a bonus, you will get the same delicious food for a few more meals.
Drink more fluids and add some extra activity to your days. The extra fluids will hold off the hunger cravings during the day and can decrease the amount of snacking between meals. Studies show that people who drink a cup of water prior to eating a meal ate less food at those meal times. Adding the extra physical activity will help burn some of those extra calories and prevent weight gain. Activity can also take your mind off of all the delicious food on the stove to further control hunger cravings.
Lastly, go for adding extra color to your plate with vegetables and fruits. These are lower calorie options that are nutrient and fiber dense to help you get the proper nutrition and stay full. Starting your holiday meals with a salad first may decrease the amount of higher calorie foods eaten and will provide a serving of vegetables. Another way to add some color is to replace a not so healthy side with a serving of vegetables or fruit to save on calories while still enjoying the other food items that have been calling your name all year long.
Michelle Reynolds RD/LD