The Holiday Season is one in which many of us tend to over-indulge, especially when it comes to food.
Food is a central part of our get- togethers and parties around the holidays, so it is important to make smart food choices. Of course, that is often easier said than done. The abundance of food, especially comfort foods and treats we don’t indulge in the rest of the year can make it difficult to avoid adding a few extra pounds. And we tell ourselves it will be easy to take off “after the holidays.”
Of course, if you are watching your weight, you are concerned about not adding extra pounds during the holidays, you want to find ways to ‘eat smart’. The majority of the party-going people, won’t be concerned with watching their weight, so they are less inclined to bring healthier versions of their best recipes. Then it becomes our own burden to stick with our diets or to watch what we eat as the food choices can be very tempting! To help you get through the holidays without putting on ‘extra weight’, follow these 8 holiday eating tips. And if you want
1. Stop Eating When You Feel Full. This is something most people won’t,or don’t, do. Especially those that are in the ‘clean plate’ club and don’t like to leave extra or left over food on their plates. Honestly, there is absolutely no shame in leaving that extra portion of food on your plate. When your tummy feels full, just push yourself away from the table and say “No More For Me Thanks!”.
2. Take A Few Extra or Longer Walks. Walking is a terrific form of exercise, and can be a great cardiovascular work out in colder temperatures. Especially when there is a nice layer of snow on the ground. Next time you go to let your dog out to do their bathroom ‘business’, why not slip on your coat and shoes, grab their leash and take them for a walk around the block, or down a few blocks. Fido will love you for it and you will be making yourself a healthier ‘you’ by doing it as well.
3. Don’t Count Calories Incessantly. This is unnecessary and will drive your loved ones crazy, and yourself too. Let’s face it, there’s enough stressors around the Holidays to worry about. Gaining an extra few pounds should be the least of your troubles! The best thing you can do if you are already dieting is to watch not what you eat, but how much of it you are eating instead of trying to keep track of your caloric intake. Unless of course you are on a strict diet and need to avoid things that contain higher carbohydrates, sugars, etc. In this case, you would obviously want to avoid eating things like potatoes, breads, cookies, candies, cakes, etc.
4. Use Reduced Fat, Sugar Substitutes, or Fat Free Ingredients in Your Recipes. Lots of people complain that fat-free or reduced fat ingredients change the flavor of their favorite recipes, and not in a good way. But, in all reality, there is barely a hint of difference in flavor. In fact, if one did not have the knowledge that normal ingredients such as sour cream had been replaced with a fat-free or reduced fat substitute, you would never hear a peep about the taste. When replacing sugar such as pure cane sugar with a substitute such as Splenda, Equal, or the like, you may notice a taste difference. So, in this case, if you have picky family members, simply make two versions of the same dessert or snacks and let your family opt for their own choice.
5. Eat One Big Meal Instead Of Continuous Snacking Or Smaller Meals. Opinions will vary on this one, but whether you’re eating a bigger meal once, or several smaller meals throughout the day, the amount of food you are taking in is just about the same at any rate. The difference in eating a big meal once is that you will be completely full, or have the full ‘feeling’ so you won’t be hungry as much. And DO NOT think you can have your 3 square meals a day and then add a couple of more to the mix. That will most definitely pack on the unwanted pounds. Remember to always eat in moderation and keep in mind the full feeling. When you are getting full, STOP EATING!
6. Know Your Eating Boundaries And Don’t Cross Them. This tip is especially important if you are already dieting or trying to lose weight. You know better than Aunt Betty what you can eat. Even though her home-made pound cake might taste wonderful, you may want to not opt for seconds if you are on a strict diet. Many people like to splurg around the holiday season, but it’s all a matter of will power really. If you just can’t help yourself and must have some of Uncle Fred’s ambrosia salad, then take a smaller than normal portion of it.
7. Go For The Healthy Food Choices. Almost every family unit has at least one ‘health nut’ within its midst. If there are healthy food choices available, then eat more of the plain fruits and vegetables instead of the pies cakes and cookies in the holiday ‘spread’. Remember too that extra dips can help pack on the pounds. Don’t be afraid to ask what the dips are made from so you can make a more informed judgment on whether or not you can enjoy them. Also, you can always bring healthier food dips for fruits and veggies with you such as yogurt or reduced calorie veggie dips that are sold at most major grocery stores before the big get-together.
8. Eat In Moderation With Smaller Portions. As discussed earlier, take smaller portions of all those calorie packed goodies. This way, you can still partake of all the wonderful eats without packing on all the extra pounds that go along with all those goodies. And remember too to balance out the bad foods, or those that are packed with sugars and carbohydrates, with good foods such as plain fruits and vegetables.