It’s holiday season, filled with family, friends and many special occasions that include hard to resist foods. With so much food everywhere you look, its easy to overindulge and end the year with a few extra unwanted pounds. But, with a little thought, you can make healthy choices and still enjoy the season’s festivities. Here are a few tips to help navigate your way through the rest of the month. :
- Make a plan: Everyday isn’t a party or a big dinner. On non-party days, eat healthy meals with lots of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains. Sneak in a workout that can help burn off some extra calories and relieve holiday stress. If you don’t have time for a workout, use the stairs at the office or try a 15-minute power walk.
- Shop smartly: The stores are full of goodies, attractively displayed and just begging to be bought. Shop from a list and stick to it.
- Eat what you love: Give yourself permission to eat the foods you love that are special this time of year. Pick something delicious, eat it slowly and really enjoy it. But, pass on everyday high calorie party foods like store bought cookies, chips and wings that you can eat anytime.
- Don’t go hungry: Having a little something before you head out to an event is better than arriving hungry. Try a low fat latte, yogurt and fruit, a bowl of soup, a piece of cheese with a cracker and some vegetables or a piece of fruit. When you get there, you’ll be able to be more discriminating in your choices.
- Choose wisely: At a party, fill up on first on lower calorie, lower fat items like sushi, seafood with cocktail sauce, smoked salmon, chicken or beef satay, cold salad rolls or antipasto. If it’s a buffet, decide on three or four things that look great. Take small portions of each, then walk away from the table and enjoy them. Stay away from the bowls of nibbles where it is easy to absentmindedly munch. If possible, choose a smaller plate and you will likely eat less.
- Out of sight, out of mind: If you are cooking treats for a party ahead of time, freeze them or put them away so they are not so visible and tempting. Take the box of shortbread cookies off your desk and put it where it isn’t accessible. Send party leftovers home with friends or family or freeze them for treats later in January.
- Watch the liquid calories: It’s easy to consume several hundred calories before you’ve even had a bite of food. For example, a cup of juice, soft drink or punch has 100 calories; one cup eggnog has 300+ calories; 5 oz wine has 100 calories; 12 oz beer has 150 calories and 1.5 oz of scotch or vodka has 100 calories. Alternate between alcohol and non-alcohol drinks. Choose lower calorie drinks or mixers like sparkling water with a twist of lemon or lime, a virgin Caesar or juice with soda.
- Give guilt a holiday: Don’t feel badly if you overeat or feel that you’ve made poor choices. Realize that a day or event of indulging doesn’t have to sabotage your best laid plans. It’s just one day or one event and it will be much easier to get back on track if you don’t give yourself a hard time.