The dreaded holidays are upon us, which means good times and better food. On average, people gain five to ten pounds in the months of November and December. That weight can take months to take back off, if it does. The key is to make good nutritional choices during the holidays and don’t let the food take you over. Focus on the friends, family and good times, and let the food be a bonus, not a necessity.
1. Drink water during meals. Water fills you up. Take sips between forkfuls during your holiday meals and your portions sizes will decrease. Not to mention water is a great detoxifier and will help flush out toxins and keep your skin beautiful.
2. Eat salad before the meal. Top it with clear vinaigrette type dressings rather than creamy dressings. The pre-salad will help decrease appetite so you don’t over eat the “bad” stuff.
3. Use portion control. If you are hosting the meal, use smaller plates. If you are attending a meal, use an appetizer plate. People may wonder what you are doing, but when they figure it out, they will either wish they thought of it, or wish they had the willpower to do it.
4. Drink equal amounts of water to alcohol. Have a glass of water, then a glass of wine. Try to stick with wine or cocktails that use sparkling water rather than sugary cocktails. People can consume more calories from alcohol than food, so watch what kind you drink.
5. Eat before you arrive at holiday parties. Eat a healthy meal at home, or snack on whole fruit or raw veggies before arriving at your party.
6. Avoid appetizers. They are usually full of fat and calories. Wait to indulge on the meal itself. If they offer healthy crackers or vegetable appetizers then you can sample a little.
7. Suggest a potluck dinner and bring a healthy dish. Feeling overwhelmed about cooking? If you are hosting a party then make it a potluck. If you are attending a party, offer to bring a dish to relive the host a bit.
8. Avoid the “creamed” dishes. Or eat them in extreme moderation. Most creamed dishes are loaded with saturated fat, sodium and butter, which are instant diet killers. Stick to steamed, broiled or baked dishes.
9. Do not sample dishes as you cook. It is difficult, but if you are cooking leave the sampling to the guests. You can ask their opinion if the dish needs anything else, or you can trust your own instincts. Save the eating for the dinner table
10. Only overindulge on the holiday itself. Remember, Thanksgiving is only one day. Eat healthy and exercise in the days leading up to the actual dinner, so you can enjoy it with the guests. The days following dinner, hit the gym and eat healthy once again.