Holidays and Weight Gain Go Hand-In-Hand
Let’s face it, the reason why most people flock to the gym each January isn’t to comply with a New Year’s resolution. Instead, it’s to drop the unwanted pounds that they packed on during the holiday season. If you are looking for some ways to stay trim and healthy this winter, here are some holiday diet tips for minimizing or avoiding weight gain.
Eat a Healthy Meal Prior to Attending Parties
When you are going to a party, you don’t always know what is going to be on the menu or for offered for a snack. There may not be any healthy foods available. If you are at such a party, and you are hungry, you will likely break down and eat the unhealthy offerings until you are full. This can mean the addition of several hundred calories to your day’s caloric intake, which is very bad news to your waistline. Therefore, to avoid being caught in such a predicament at a party, make it a point to eat ahead of time and on your own terms (that is, when have full control over what you eat). That way, if you get to the party and there are no healthy foods available, you will feel satisfied enough to either nibble on the healthiest of the unhealthy foods available or even not to eat at all.
Park Yourself Next To Healthy Foods
Most parties have a spectrum of food choices, from completely junky ones, such as potato chips and pastries, to healthy ones, such as raw carrots, broccoli, and cucumbers. When you arrive at a party, scout out the food table to see where the healthy foods are located. When it comes time to make your way to the table, stake your ground near those foods. If someone strikes up a conversation (most people tend to congregate near the food table to socialize), you will be within arm’s reach of the healthier items while you talk. By distancing yourself from the worst foods, you are in a better position to resist their temptation (which is good because party conversations can be lengthy).
Socializing at holiday parties can produce feelings of anxiety and nervousness, particularly when you are not especially familiar with the party’s other attendees. When anxious, people tend to calm their nerves by eating and drinking faster and therefore, more than they would otherwise. If this describes you, you may wish to stay away from the food table as much as possible. Otherwise, you may find yourself constantly and quickly munching as you converse.
Further, you should make a conscious effort to limit portions of the food that you do eat. One way you can do this is to use a small plate and not return for seconds (or thirds).
Favor Sensible Ingredients Over Fatty Ones
If you are throwing your own party, you owe it to yourself and your guests to prepare foods that are both tasty and healthy. One way you can do this is to swap out fatty ingredients, such as regular cheese, mayonnaise, and milk, for low-fat or no fat varieties of these products. In most instances, since these products will be just a fraction of the whole recipe, the reduction in taste (as compared to the regular versions of these products) will not be noticed as other ingredients will be present to provide flavor.
Reduce Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol is a popular item during the holiday season. Unfortunately, alcohol is a major source of calories (the average alcoholic beverage has about 300 calories in each eight ounce serving). One way to cut down substantially on calorie intake is to reduce your alcohol consumption. For example, you may wish to select a light beer over a regular beer or mixed drink. As another example, you may wish to choose a wine that is of a low alcohol content. Many wines are about 15 percent alcohol by content, but wines that are about 10 percent alcohol by content are becoming rather trendy. Ask your local wine seller for some recommendations.
A Final Word
While adding some weight during the holiday season may be inevitable, you certainly can take steps to limit the damage. Just by following one or two of the holiday diet tips described above, you should need fewer trips to the gym in January to get back to your pre-Thanksgiving figure. Good luck and happy holidays!
American Diabetes Association, Holiday Meal Planning: https://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/food/planning-meals/holiday-meal-planning/
National Heart, Lung And Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Low-Calorie, Low Fat Alternative Foods: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/lose_wt/lcal_fat.htm