Bundoo’s Twelve Days of Christmas: 11 tips to avoid that holiday love-handle
The weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful…oh, I love this time of year. However, with the holiday season comes the challenge of keeping your commitment to healthy eating intact. As cooler weather draws near, it’s very tempting to indulge in your favorite cozy foods like lattes, turkey, ham, yams, cookies and pies.
Did you know the average American consumes about 3,500 calories on Christmas day? It is possible to find healthier alternatives during this wonderful season to keep you feeling warm and cozy on the insides without packing on extra weight. Here are 11 tips to help you get through the holiday season:
- Don’t skip breakfast. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating a breakfast high in fiber and protein will help you stay full and prevent you from overeating throughout the day.
- Cut the salt. Use low-sodium, fat-free chicken broth in your mashed potatoes to add flavor and cut back on added butter or margarine.
- Top it off! For dips, sauces and pie toppings use fat-free yogurt, sour cream and whipped topping.
- Say cheese. Choose reduced-fat or low-fat cheeses for salads and casseroles.
- Skip the skin. White or dark meat skinless 3-ounce portion has 128 calories vs. 254 in white or dark meat 3-ounce portion with skin.
- Choose beverages wisely. Alcohol is high in calories. Liquors, sweet wines, and sweet mixed drinks contain 150-450 calories per glass. Limit to one or two drinks. Soda, fruit punch, and eggnog can also be high in calories. Use low-fat milk (1% or 2%) when making eggnog. 1 cup of low-fat eggnog has 280 calories vs. 440 calories in 1 cup regular eggnog.
- Soup for the soul. Cold weather calls for a warm bowl of soup. Choose hearty soups filled with vegetables and lean meat to help you stay full. Cream-based soups are heavier, made with more fat, and have more calories. Minestrone or chicken noodle soups are healthier alternatives.
- Skip the whip. If you’re craving hot chocolate or lattes, opt for a lighter version; choose a smaller portion, ask for nonfat milk and do without the whipped cream.
- Keep moving. Go outside and enjoy the weather. Wake up a little earlier and squeeze in a walk or run before breakfast. It’s very important to stay active during this time of year to prevent weight gain.
- Pace yourself. It takes about 20 minutes for the signals to travel from your gut to your hypothalamus. By slowing down, you give those natural signals of fullness a change to actually register.
- Don’t go hungry. Eat a light snack before holiday parties. Try a piece of fruit, light yogurt, or a string cheese before you go. Don’t go without eating before parties.
Combine the comfort foods of the holiday season with a decrease in physical activity and lounging on the couch—and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster. This will only require you to work harder to get your shape back come spring. Keeping your body adequately nourished during winter can be difficult, but it’s important if you want to keep those extra pounds off.
Wishing you and your families a healthy and happy holiday season!