With family gatherings, parties, and the rotating plate of cookies at work, it’s hard not to gain weight over the holidays. The truth is, most people do gain about 1-2 pounds by the end of the season. So what’s the big deal? Instead of returning to our pre-holiday weight, those couple of pounds tend to stick with us leading to gradual weight gain over the years1 .
Don’t Fall Prey to Holiday Weight Gain
With a few strategies, you can avoid holiday weight gain while still enjoying friends, family and the holiday feast:
• Start the day with a hearty, healthy breakfast. Research shows that individuals that eat breakfast tend to consume fewer calories throughout the day1 .
• Use a smaller plate. Avoid over-sized portions of high-calorie foods by decreasing the size of your dish. You can always go back for seconds if you’re still hungry.
• Choose one or two high-calorie items to enjoy while filling your plate with other lower calorie options such as vegetables and fruit.
• Eat slowly and be mindful of each bite. Savor the food you look forward to each year.
• Avoid grazing. Little nibbles of this and that can contribute significantly to your overall calories consumed.
• Find time to enjoy physical activity. As simple as a walk with family or friends, physical activity can be a part of the fun while helping to keep calories in check.
• If consuming alcohol, do so in moderation. Holiday beverages can be high in both sugar and fat and may make it harder to follow a healthy diet.
Host the Holiday with Ease
If you are entertaining this holiday season, give a helping hand to those trying to follow a healthier diet. Offer a variety of food options that are both high and low calorie and consider serving a festive low-calorie, non-alcoholic beverage for guests abstaining.
Provide small plates to encourage modest portion sizes, and, if time permits, organize a physical group activity not centered on eating, such as a walk or a game of cards. If your guests are following special diets, plan the meal so you offer one or more dishes from each of the different food groups. That way, your guests are bound to find something that works within their plan. Focus on high quality ingredients from recipes with few and simple ingredients and be prepared to list what’s in each dish if your guests ask.
1. Enjoy the Holiday without the Weight Gain. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website. http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/lifestyle/holidays/enjoy-the-holidaywithout-the-weight-gain. Published January 29, 2015. Accessed August 6, 2015.