Curb the calories, not the fun
From Thanksgiving dinner to the New Year’s Eve toast, the opportunities to overindulge are nearly endless. Enjoying the food is a big part of enjoying the holiday, but it doesn’t have to add inches to your waistline. Let these strategies help you survive the holidays without adding any extra pounds.
• Minimize mindless munching.Nibbling before and after a big holiday meal is a sure way to add significant calories. Between the eggnog, appetizer platter and cookies, it’s easy to top 1,000 calories before sitting down to dinner.
What to do? Evaluate your hunger level before you dive in. If you’re hungry, eat. If you’re not, don’t.
• Truly taste the food.This isn’t an eating contest, so slow down.
Use your five senses to experience the meal: Look at the beauty of the holiday table. Smell the aromas of the dishes. Listen to your loved ones around the table. Feel the textures of the food. Chew slowly and truly taste the flavors of the meal.
You may discover a sense of satisfaction with a meal with far fewer calories when you take time to enjoy the food you’re eating.
• Beware of liquid calories.A cup of regular eggnog can have up to 500 calories. Factor in alcohol, sugar-loaded punch drinks, hot cider and more and see how liquid calories add up.
What to do? Choose "light" or "diet" beverages and drink lots of water.
• Use high-protein and high-fiber foods to your advantage.Protein and fiber are the two nutrients that help most with appetite control. Both slow digestion and help you feel full longer.
Plan high-fiber, high-protein snacks such as a fresh veggie tray with hummus dip.
• Get moving.Some people would rather burn it up than give up tasty holiday foods. If that’s the case, plan physical activity into your day. Go outside with the kids to toss the football around, or grab your music and take a brisk walk or shop at the mall instead of online.
Simply moving more can help burn off extra calories, tone your muscles and work off some of the holiday stresses.
• Use MyPlate as a guide.The government’s new food icon, MyPlate, is a guide that can help you get balanced nutrition and make better food choices at holiday meals.