We are rapidly approaching the time of year that many find to be the most difficult time to stick to healthy eating. The cycle kicks off with the sugar highs of Halloween, followed by mass amounts of stuffing with Thanksgiving, the never ending holiday parties of December, and finally topping it all off with New Year’s celebrations. It’s no wonder everyone’s New Year’s resolution is to lose weight! Perhaps if we started that New Year’s resolution in October we would have better chance of fighting the bulge during the last few months of the year. Following these tips can assist all of us trying to get through the holidays without going up a pant size!
- Switch the focus of the party from food to friends and family. Parties often center around food but the real reason you are there is to enjoy time with your family and friends. Keeping this mindset at a party will help you engage in conversations rather than mindlessly munch on food.
- Eat balanced leading up to the party. Many people try to save calories for the party and therefore tend to skip breakfast and even lunch so they feel less guilty when eating higher calorie foods at the party. This technique can backfire though because you may feel deprived which will likely lead to consumption of more calories than you would have if meals were not skipping throughout the day.
- Eating a snack before heading to the party is a foreign concept to many but it can help with hunger control. The less hungry you are the more likely you will be able to make good decisions when presented with a plethora of delicious food. The hungrier you are the more likely you’re going to make a beeline to the higher calorie food as soon as you get to the party.
- If the party is buffet style make it a point to only make one trip to the table. Try to position yourself in the room where there is a distance between yourself and the food area and keep your back to the food- out of sight, out of mind!
- If the party is a sit down dinner served family style follow the MyPlate recommendations by filling up 1/2 of your plate with non starchy veggies (i.e. salad, Brussels sprouts, carrots, sauteed spinach), a ¼ of your plate with a starch (i.e. wild rice, sweet potato, corn), and a ¼ from protein (i.e. turkey, chicken, fish). Eat slowly by chewing your food thoroughly, placing your fork down between bites, and taking sips of water between bites- this will help fill you up and decrease your chances for needing second helpings!
- Remember you don’t have to eat everything that is served to you. Pick out your favorite foods that are special to you and skip the foods that you eat often or could eat whenever you want (i.e. dinner rolls or cheese and crackers).
- Fill up on low calories foods first (shrimp cocktail, fruit salad, veggies and dip, salad) in hopes that you will eat smaller portions of the higher calories foods later.
- Food is only one component of holiday parties that can be challenging, the other is alcohol. For someone who is trying to make healthy choices, alcohol can definitely deter their efforts as it lowers self control and increases hunger which can lead to unhealthy food choices. Therefore, instead of sipping a martini get soda water or diet tonic with a lime wedge. You’ll still have something to sip on and no one will know the difference!
- Walk it off! Take a walk with family and friends after dinner or try to get in a workout before the party. The extra activity can help offset excess calories eaten at the event.
- Enjoy yourself! Remember the holidays are a time that should be filled with laughter and joy not feelings of guilt or stress. So if you do have a slip at a party don’t let it get you down! Tomorrow is another day to get back on track!
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