One thing is certain about holiday parties, they center around delicious foods and decadent desserts. Whether you’re currently trying to lose weight or simply watching your waistline, the holiday season can be a difficult time to maintain your weight and avoid packing on a few extra pounds. Here are some suggestions to help you enjoy healthy holiday foods without gaining weight:
- Practice portion control. You can enjoy your favorite holiday dishes, but keep portion sizes under control by just taking a small portion of each item. Try filling up mostly on fruits and vegetables before hitting the dessert table.
- Don’t feel like you have to “clean your plate.” Sure, your parents may have said that you had to clean your plate at one time or another, but don’t feel like you have to anymore. If you’re full, stop eating, despite how much food is left on your plate. Better yet, stop eating before you feel full, since it takes approximately 20 minutes for your full stomach to register in your brain.
- Have realistic weight loss expectations during the holiday season. Don’t expect yourself to stick to a strict diet during the holidays because that is unrealistic and just sets you up for failure. Instead of dieting, try to maintain your current weight during the holidays.
- Eat a sensible meal or a healthy snack before holiday parties. By eating before parties, you won’t be ravenous and eat everything in sight.
- Don’t go back to the buffet for seconds and thirds. Just make one trip to the buffet table and fill your plate with the healthiest foods as well as small portions of your favorite treats.
- Don’t drink your calories. Beware of extra calories in drinks and cocktails and choose what you drink wisely. Instead of drinking sodas, iced tea and specialty coffee beverages, which are loaded with calories, drink water, flavored seltzers and unsweetened herbal teas. Avoid alcoholic beverages or drink in moderation because they are high in empty calories, plus you need to be able to drive home safely after the party.
- Be a healthy host. When you’re hosting a party, make a conscious effort to include healthy holiday foods on the menu that are low-fat and low calorie such as a fresh fruit and vegetable platter, vegetable side dishes and lean meat entrees. If you’re baking, use the low-fat versions of your recipes.
- Follow your regular exercise program throughout the holiday season. Continue to be as active as possible throughout the holidays to help burn off any extra calories. Take your regular trips to the gym, ride your bike, get on the treadmill, etc. The key is to keep moving because a body in motion stays in motion.
By following these simple tips, you can enjoy healthy holiday foods guilt-free this season and into the New Year.