The holiday season is upon us, filled to the brim with family gatherings, fond memories, and general excitement Of course, one of the season's staples is plenty of food. With most events revolving around what sweet treat or hearty dish is at the dinner table, I can be easier then normal to pack on a few extra pounds. This doesn't have to be the case as long as people prepare for the added pressure holiday parties can bring. Tis the season to try to maintain your weight rather then lose so you can enjoy the most wondrous time of the year. Here are some tips to help the health conscious survive the holidays. Choose which ones you think will work best for you.
Have a Pre-Party Game Plan
- Prepare small, lower-calorie meals during the day so you can celebrate later without overdoing your calorie intake for the day.
- Please DO NOT skip meals or else you'll be more likely to overeat later.
- Before coming to a big get-together or party enjoy a low - calorie snack with protein and fiber. Doing so helps curb your hunger and keeps you from overeating more fattening foods at the soiree.
- Worried there won't be any healthy options to choose from if someone else throws a party? Bring you own dish such as a veggie and fruit platter or a lightened up version of your favorite holiday recipe! The host(ess) will love you and you'll know there will be at least one healthy option to chow down on.
Enjoying Good Company and Good Food Wisely
- Buffets can be challenging for even those with the strongest willpower. Try to make only one trip to the buffet table. Choose small portions of the foods you want to try. Usually it only takes a small taste to satisfy a craving or curiosity. Try to make half you plate more "healthful" foods to keep you meal balanced.
- If you're at a buffet, chat with people away from the buffet table in order to keep mindless nibbling at bay. Also remember, its eat, talk, eat, talk not eat WHILE talking. If you take turns eating and talking, holding a conversation can slow down your eating pace because you pause while talking to someone (plus its sooo much easier to talk when you aren't trying to swallow a big bite you just took).
- Eat the "healthier foods" on your plate first such as fruits and veggies. That way you fill up eating lots of lower calorie snacks and less higher calories ones (just remember to save room for desert). The best part is you don't feel deprived.
- If there are any seats available, enjoy your food while sitting down. Sitting down can keep you from eating more then you would standing up and makes the meal more satisfying.
- Choose smaller plates over bigger plate if offered. You'll feel more satisfied with a smaller amount of food because your plate LOOKS full so your mind THINKS its a lot of food.
- Make sure to drink water or another low-calorie drink while eating. Doing so keeps you hydrated and helps you feel full faster.
- If you're at a sit-down dinner, make your first helping half as big as you normally would. That way you can have a 2nd helping compliment the cook for such tasty dishes, and still keep your portion size normal.
- Set your fork down between bites and don't pick it up until your completely done with the bite your chewing. This may seem like an odd activity but it helps slow the meal down, giving your body the time it needs to say "I'm full" before you stuff yourself silly.
Post - Party Fun and Exercise
- Balance extra party calories with more physical activity. There is so much you can do during the holiday's to keep active. Help clear the table and clean dishes to show your appreciation and burn off a few extra calories. Go sledding with your family, dance like there is no tomorrow, or take a walk with a loved one you don't get to see very often. Have fun with your physical activity.
- Don't stress out. Eating an extra slice of cheesecake at your ward Christmas party is NOT going to ruin your diet or make you gain 3 pounds in one sitting. Healthy eating is all about moderation and understanding that some days will be higher in calories then others. It IS a party for Pete's sake; enjoy yourself! Try your best to eat healthy but don't get down if things didn't go exactly to plan. It's important to stay positive so you can still enjoy the rest of the party and realize that tomorrow is another day.