The holiday season, also known as the season of extra calories, is upon us. Everywhere you turn you’re bombarded with cookies, candy, chocolate, appetizers, drinks, and more! Most Americans gain weight during the holiday season and few end up losing that weight after the holidays have ended. Follow these tips to keep you on track and away from holiday temptations.
Avoiding Holiday Temptations
- Never Arrive Hungry
- Do not skip meals earlier in the day as this may lead to overeating. Having a nutritious snack right before you leave will help curb your appetite. Try adding more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains to increase your fiber intake. This will help satisfy hunger without adding excessive amounts of calories. If you do arrive to a party hungry, drink a glass or two of water prior to hitting the snack table.
- Divert Your Attention
- Focus on something other than food. You should not be in a rush to eat. Instead, enjoy the company of good friends and conversations with family. Position yourself with your back to the snack table, or better yet in a separate room, to avoid the temptation.
- Pace Yourself
- When you do grab some food, practice mindful eating tactics. Chew slowly and set your fork down between bites. This will help you become more aware of your hunger cues.
- Count Your Appetizers
- It is easy to lose count of how many items you have already eaten when at a buffet-style party. Keep track of how much of any one item you’ve eaten by counting the toothpicks they are picked up with. Set a realistic limit and stick to it.
- Outsmart the Buffet
- To avoid overeating, use a smaller plate at the buffet and don’t stack your food. This encourages proper portion sizes and will help you eat fewer calories overall. Try having a salad prior to starting your meal and fill your dinner plate with fruits and veggies first. Be careful with sauces and dips as they can pack in added calories and sugars very quickly.
- Limit Alcohol
- Satisfy your thirst by having a glass of water first. Alcohol has added calories and mixers tend to be higher in added sugars. With an increase in alcohol intake, you will not have as much control over your eating habits. Instead, try sipping on club soda. Still craving that drink? Choose a light beer or vodka with sparkling water. Both are lowest in calories and sugars.
- Be Picky About Sweets
- Most people are not able to sample several desserts without having more than one bite of each. If this is you, limit your indulgences to a smaller portion of what is special to you. Choose items that aren’t available year-round. Go for a small slice of pumpkin pie over the cookies and cake that are more readily available more often.
- Bring Your Own Treats
- Offer to bring dessert to the party so you know that there will be a decent option for you. Opt for something non-traditional and low-calorie such as fruit.
- Limit ‘Tastes’ While Cooking
- Be careful of mindless taste-testing while cooking. It is easy to lose your appetite if you’ve been eating all day while cooking. Try to limit your tasting to two small bites of each item pre- and post-seasoning.
- Walk It Off
- Get some physical activity after dinner. Get the family together and go on a walk or play catch with the kids. This will burn extra calories and get everyone away from the food for a period of time.
If you need help preparing yourself for a healthier holiday season, come see me for a free fitness consultation!Schedule a Nutrition Consultation
Written by Sarah Brunner, RDN, CD; Elite Sports Clubs Registered Dietitian
Sarah is certified in food allergies/intolerances and nutritional counseling, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics; has a certificate in Dietetics from Mount Mary University; and a BA in Education and Mathematics from the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.