The average American puts on 50% of their annual weight gain during the holidays.
Thanksgiving officially begins the annual holiday season and the annual holiday feasting. During the holidays, the average American puts on 50% of their annual weight gain. What can one do to avoid gaining weight in the six weeks between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? Some healthy holiday eating tips are offered to hopefully answer this question.
Healthy Holiday Eating Tips
*Plan ahead. Think about the event before you go, anticipating the food you will be facing and the pressure you may receive from peers/family members encouraging you to eat more than you’d planned. Plan in advance how you will respond to these situations.
*Keep track of the foods you’ve eaten during the day, including calories if you’re watching your weight. Add up the calories and then you’ll know how much you can allow yourself to eat at a social occasion. Remember it takes 3500 calories to equal one pound of body weight so if you eat 500 additional calories daily for one week you will gain one pound.
*If you know you’re going to a food event in the evening, eat lightly at breakfast and lunch. Do not skip meals or you’ll arrive famished.
*Eat something before you go to a party or other special event. Don’t arrive famished – or even hungry – eat a salad, some carrot sticks, a piece of fruit or some raw vegetables before you go so you will be in control at the sight and aroma of holiday treats.
*Eat only your favorites and special holiday foods at holiday parties and events. Don’t waste your calories on potato chips, dips, nuts, bread and other food that you can have any time of year. Focus on foods that are only featured during the holidays to make the best use of your calories. Plan your healthy holiday eating so you can enjoy a special piece of cake, pie, candy or whatever.
*Whenever possible, serve yourself at parties. Hosts and hostesses tend to load your plate with large portions of food. Maintain control of your portions rather than give control to the food server. By the way, you don’t have to eat an entire portion of everything. Start out with a small portion of the foods you choose to eat.
*At a buffet, scope out the entire table first, then head directly to the healthy holiday foods you’ve decided to eat.
*Be the slowest eater. Be the last to start and the last to finish. You will enjoy the food more and feel satisfied with less. Take time to pay attention to the texture, aroma and subtleties of taste in order to halt the rapid and automatic eating that brings so many calories and less healthful foods.
*Eat until you’re full not until you’re hurting! Eat until you’re just satisfied instead of stopping when you have to unbutton your pants.
*After you’ve finished eating, stand or sit away from food and nibbles and engage in lots of conversation with interesting people. Stimulating conversation will keep your mind off eating and you can’t (or shouldn’t!) talk and eat at the same time.
*Keep a proper perspective. If you do eat more than you intend, keep a positive attitude. Don’t turn an event into more than it really is: just another day with meals and calories. In the scheme of a month or year’s worth of eating, what can one day mean? Your attitude is central to your ability to make intelligent food choices both during and after parties and events.
*If you’re hosting a holiday event, plan to include healthy holiday foods on the menu. Likewise, if you’re bringing food to a party, make your choice something that will contribute to healthy holiday eating for others too.
*The holidays are busy times but try to incorporate daily exercise into your schedule. Exercise helps burn calories and also helps relieve stress which often sends some people seeking comfort in food. Physical exercise may even help by having an appetite-suppressing effect. A little exercise, even 10-20 minutes a day will set you up to enjoy your holiday fun without all the guilt.
Be aware of foods that are high in calories, which are usually high in fat and/or sugar as well. One piece of fudge is 150 calories; one piece of fruitcake is 300 calories and mixed nuts are 188 calories on one ounce (about 20 nuts). There are cell phone apps that you can use to check on the nutritional content of any food. Use these resources to keep your holiday eating habits healthy!
Enjoy family and friends and best wishes from the Silver Foodie!
Remember to Savor the Flavor!
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