Between the never-ending cookies, eggnog, other sweet treats, the holidays are a tough time to stick to a healthy eating routine. Did you know the average American may gain four to seven pounds during the holiday season? The good news is you can tackle the holidays and come out on the other side victorious! Here is a reminder of the best tips and tricks to fend off holiday weight gain this year:
Eat the best-for-you offerings first. For example, dive into the hot soup as a first course. It will keep you warm and satisfied, which can help you avoid eating too much during the main course. And for an even healthier boost try the broth-based soup instead of cream-based, if available.
Concentrate on your meal while you’re eating it. Focus on chewing your food well and enjoying the smell, taste, and texture of each item. Research shows that mealtime multitasking (whether at home or at a party) can make you pop mindless calories into your mouth. Of course, dinner-party conversations are natural, but try to set your food down until you're finished chatting so you are more aware of what you're taking in.
Choose a proper restaurant over the grab-and-go food court. And request a table away from loud sounds and distractions, which can cause you to eat more. The bright lights and noisy hard surfaces can speed up the rate at which you eat and lead to overeating.
Give yourself a limit. Heading to a holiday party should be fun and exciting. Give yourself a limit to the number of high-calorie foods on your party plate. Research has shown that when faced with a variety of foods with different tastes, textures, smells, shapes, and colors, people eat more―regardless of their true hunger level. Cutting down on your personal smorgasbord can decrease what you end up eating by 20 - 40%.
Sit next to a fellow healthy eater. That’s right—it’s all about strength in numbers. That way you won’t feel awkward eating the fruit instead of the potato salad. Or, sit next to a slow eater. That will give you plenty of time to pace yourself and feel full without going up for seconds.
Remember, the holidays are a time to gather with family and friends. For better or worse, with celebration normally comes food. Try to be prepared so you limit any slip-ups and still enjoy great company and food.
Did you know?
According to research from the Calorie Control Council, the average American may consume more than 4,500 calories and a whopping 229 grams of fat, from snacking and from a traditional holiday dinner with turkey and all the trimmings. And these figures don’t include breakfast or the late evening munching on leftovers!
Before you consider your menu for Thanksgiving, reflect on what the day signifies to you. Think about the memories you have of past Thanksgivings, and people who are no longer with you. Appreciate everything you are thankful for, and the loved ones you will share your holiday with. Plan your menu with these thoughts in the forefront and consider how you’d like to feel after the holiday.