Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Tips for Healthy Holiday Eating

 



As the holiday season approaches, people will be celebrating at numerous occasions and parties.  They don’t call this the busiest time of year for nothing. Yep, this is the season where every table is piled high with calorie-laden temptations, but it’s up to us to manage indulging in a healthy way.

 

Among many methods of abstaining from tantalizing treats, maintaining a food and exercise diary is perhaps the simplest way you can help in monitoring your daily consumption while focusing on the daily exercise you need. Studies show that people tend to gain 1 to 2 pounds during the holiday, and these can turn into permanent baggage if left unmanaged. No one really fancies to be on a strict diet during the holidays, but there are numerous strategies you can employ to enjoy a healthy holiday. Here are several tips to keep your health in check this holiday season:

 

Shop smart for good health

If you’re the one organizing the holiday party, make sure to serve healthier food varieties. Plan the menu by choosing plenty of fruits, vegetables, seafood, whole grains and lean meats. You can try using fat-free yogurt and sour cream instead of thick dips and sauces. Opt for low-fat or reduced-fat cheeses for salads and casseroles. Try to reduce salt or choose those with low sodium content when it comes to condiments. Go easy on sweets as well. You can use two egg whites instead of a whole egg to reduce the cholesterol while producing the same tasty result. Trimming the fat content in food can also help you to eat healthy during the holidays. Try using condensed skim milk in drinks and desserts, instead of full-fat condensed milk.

 

Plan your exercise

Even if you’re busy during the holiday season, you should always make time for exercise. This includes simple and quick physical activity such as walking instead of driving, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Exercise also aids in relieving holiday stress, since it diverts your attention away from all the holiday rush. Start by taking 10-15 minute brisk walking twice a day, then if time permits, you can jog or hike for at least an hour or two.

 

Chew gum

Chewing gum is a wonderful trick if you want to control yourself from eating too much. Choose a sugarless gum while you’re cooking to avoid too much taste testing. You also tend to lose the temptation of eating if your mouth already feels clean and fresh.

 

Don’t skip meals

Avoid skipping meals, especially if you’re going to a party later. Going to a party hungry could make you lose your restraint on food, which could result in overeating. Eat sensibly throughout the day since this will help you to manage your appetite. You can also try to eat light snacks such as fruit or yogurt before going to a party. This will stop your hunger from taking control of your food choices.

 

Skip the appetizers

Try to avoid appetizers, or choose healthy nibbles such as veggies, fruits, nuts and salsa. Most appetizers are loaded with calories, and this will only add to your holiday weight gain. Stay away from buttery pastries, spreads and dips like butter and mayonnaise.




Focus on your meal while you’re eating

Take time to concentrate on what you’re eating. This allows you to chew your food well and to monitor what you’re actually eating. Multitasking during mealtime can make you eat mindlessly, which can make you eat more calories unconsciously. Conversation at mealtime is natural, but make sure to set your food down while chatting. Eat slowly and savor every mouthful.

 

Don’t linger near the buffet table

Stand away from the buffet table as much as possible. It will keep you from nibbling the night away. Once you’ve chosen your food, you can take it in another room to enjoy. Visit the buffet table once and be selective in your food choices. You don’t need to eat every viands on the table, so choose those that you truly love and skip the everyday dishes.

 

Drink alcohol and non-alcoholic beverages alternately

Alcoholic drinks are loaded with calories. If you can’t deny yourself from partaking in a few cocktails, cut the amount of calories by alternating water or seltzer for every drink of alcohol. You can also start by drinking a calorie-free, non-alcoholic beverage to satisfy your thirst first before having an alcoholic drink. Alcohol can also lessen your inhibition and induce overeating, so drink moderately.

 

 



 

David Novak is a international syndicated newspaper columnist, appearing in newspapers, magazines, radio and TV around the world. His byline has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Readers Digest and GQ, among others, and he has appeared on The CBS Morning Show, Paul Harvey and The Today Show. David is a specialist at health, wellness, diet and exercise, and he is a regular contributing editor for Healthline. For more information, visit http://www.healthline.com/.

 

 

21 comments :

  1. Ahh the voice of reason has spoken. I'm getting in extra workouts to compensate for any holiday greediness. But that voice is reason still lingers to keep me (mostly) in check!

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    1. Check out Shaun T's #THEHOLIDAYEDGE challenge for quick 1 minute workouts when you're feeling extra greedy over the holidays. Here's the first one - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUPxnAfRC4I&list=TLJQkXJJQt0sWCcfjUwioMaGh7bOz_SUdb

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  2. These tips are great! Making it through the holidays without going out of line health wise is quite the challenge. Thanks so much for writing this!

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    1. Yes, as this is my first holiday season on my journey I'm actively looking for any help I can get like this to stay in line with all the progress I've had this year.

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  3. Great tips! We are traveling this Christmas and staying with family, so clean eating is probably going to be a challenge, but I'm going to plan and make it happen.

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    1. Me too! I've been sharing healthier dessert options on my FB page and tagging the family, hoping to give them ideas what to have there.

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  4. Great tips! I'm with Kim! Traveling this holiday season and clean eating will be tough. I have a plan! My inlaws also paid for me to have a guest memberhip at a local gym. Sweet! Like I said. I have a plan :)

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    1. Awesome in-laws to give you the guest membership to use while you're visiting them!

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  5. I'm curious about the gum tip. I have in the past used gum when hungry in the hopes to keep myself from eating however I heard years ago using gum this way is not a great idea. The idea went something like this, your stomach becomes enlarge and prepares for food because you are chewing but the food doesn't come so it makes you more hungry. I still occasionally use gum to keep me from binging but I always wondered about this. I'm curious about your thoughts on this.

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    1. I don't recall hearing that the gum made you more hungry. They even suggested gum chewing at a recent Weight Watchers meeting (maybe the one right before Thanksgiving?). I haven't found anything definitive looking online tonight, just a few people saying commenting or mentioning in a blog post that chewing gum made them more hungry.

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  6. Thank you for the tips. I definitely need to focus on concentrating on what I am eating. I am notorious for shoving it down instead of chewing it properly and enjoying every bite.

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    1. I used to shove it down too but since I started taking a sip of water after (almost) every bite it has slowed down the process. I still think I eat faster than most even while doing this.

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  7. I don't have the weight problem, in fact, I've lost because of stress, which isn't such a good thing for me since I'm small anyway. But I do need to exercise more with all the stress I have right now. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Well, I guess it's a little better than stress eating. Exercise is supposed to help with stress.

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  8. Sometimes my craving for food is actually a craving for something else. It goes away when I go outside for a walk for example, I actually needed relaxation. Or it goes away when I go to bed, I actually needed rest then. The latest surprise was that my craving went away when I took a shower. Mmm, that's probably the relaxing thing again. Looks like I've found a pattern thanks to your blog post. Thank you!

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  10. Okay, this is my goal for next year! ;) At least I don't drink alcohol, but I bake like crazy at Christmas. I have a bad cold right now, so at least that turns me off the sweets.

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  11. Great tips! The holidays are tough, but we can plan for our indulgences without wasting all our hard work!

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  12. I try so hard to have a glass of water between alcoholic drinks, but somewhere along the line, that seems to fly out the window.

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  13. Great tips! We are traveling this Christmas and staying with family

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