The holidays can be a cheerful time, filled with family, friends, and of course, food! Studies show that Americans gain weight between Thanksgiving and Christmas. What’s even worse is that it can take over five months to lose the extra weight and it tends to accumulate over the years.
By following the simple tips below, you can avoid holiday weight gain while still enjoying the festivities and feasts!
1. Practice portion control
An easy way to avoid overeating during the holidays is to manage your portions. Try to eat from a plate, not a package, so you know how much you’re eating.
Also, using smaller dishes, such as a lunch plate for your dinner, will help you eat less. Your plate will look more full, tricking your brain into thinking you’re still eating a large dinner portion.
2. Prep for parties
If you plan on indulging in some treats during a holiday party, start your day with a small meal that includes whole grains, fruit, and low-fat dairy and protein such as eggs, greek yogurt or peanut butter.
A meal like this will help you kick start the day with the nutrition you need and fill your belly with healthy foods!
3. Eat thoughtfully
Buffets can be dangerous, even for the most healthy of eaters. The key to maintaining a healthy diet during buffet season is thinking about what you’re putting on your plate.
Start by making just one trip to the buffet table and choose the foods you really want to eat. Try filling half your plate with lower-calorie party foods like fruits and vegetables.
Also, using a smaller plate will help you avoid overeating and keep your portions in control.
Once you’ve filled your plate, eat slowly and savor every bite. If you eat slowly, your body will have time to recognize that you’re full.
4. Eat this, not that.
At most holiday parties, there are endless food options. Here’s a list of some foods you should avoid and the ones you should eat instead.
- Skip dark meat; eat white meat turkey
- Skip white flour rolls; eat whole-wheat rolls
- Skip eggnog; drink cider
- Skip pecan pie; eat pumpkin pie
- Skip hard alcohol and mixed drinks; drink a wine spritzer
5. Make time for exercise
It’s important to balance “party calories” with more physical activity. Simple exercises like playing outside with your grandkids, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator, can help you shed the extra calories.
It might be time to start a habit of taking a walk around the neighborhood after every family dinner. What’s better than shedding calories while spending time with your family?