The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends. Unfortunately, for many it also becomes a time for over-eating and weight gain. According to the National Institutes of Health, holiday eating can result in an extra pound or two every year. Over a lifetime, holiday weight gain can really add up. The holidays don’t have to mean weight gain. Focus on a healthy balance of food, activity, and fun. By implementing a few simple tips you can stay healthy through the holiday season.
So, rather than keep our party-goers waiting, let’s chat and chew about ways you can stay healthy during the holidays!
- Don’t try to lose weight during the holidays, instead try to maintain your current weight.
- Make sure you get at least seven hours of sleep the night before any big holiday celebration. A recent study found that after a short night’s sleep adults ate about an extra 300 calories and tended to choose higher-fat, higher-calorie foods. By getting enough rest, you’ll eat fewer calories and make healthier choices.
- Choose your first round picks wisely. Research suggests that you’ll consume the largest quantity of the foods you eat first, so set yourself up for success by starting with something low-calorie. Try fresh veggies or salad to start.
- Count 1-2-3 when pouring yourself a glass of wine, to get an estimated 5-ounce serving. Don’t rely on just filling up a glass halfway, since many glasses are half full with 10 ounces of wine, which quickly turns that 125-calorie glass into a 250-calorie one.
- Downsize your plate to trick your brain into thinking you are eating more. According to the Calorie Control Council, the average number of calories eaten at a holiday dinner is a shocking 3,000, and that doesn’t count pre-dinner snacking. Use an appetizer or salad plate instead of a dinner plate and eat 40 percent less, cutting 1,200 calories.
- Take smaller sips and bites to trick your brain into eating 30 percent fewer calories. Studies find that when you take nibbles, chew your food longer and eat slower, your brain thinks you’ve eaten more. So don’t gobble that pumpkin pie! Instead, take smaller bites and chew more, so you naturally eat less—saving around 143 calories per serving.
- Stand more than an arm’s length away from munchies,like a bowl of nuts or chips, while you talk so you’re not tempted to grab a handful out of the bowl every few seconds.
- Sit next to a fellow healthy eater, or someone who eats slowly, so their pace can slow yours.
Every holiday event may seem like an excuse to splurge, but the consequence just might be the worst kind of post-party sickness: food coma. While most people associate the holidays with rich, high-calorie foods, there are plenty of other options available. See below for a list of healthy recipes to use this holiday season:
- Green Bean Casserole (slimmed)
- Farro Stuffing with Butternut Squash, Red Onion, and Almonds
- Green Beans with Dried Cranberries and Hazelnuts
- Mom’s Smashed Mashed Potatoes
- Sausage, Apple, and Fennel Corn Bread Dressing
Have some tips of your own to share? Feel free to comment below. As always, have a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season!