The holidays are a wonderful time to enjoy eating with family, friends and co-workers. However, it is also a time when it’s common for people to over-indulge and stray from their normal eating habits; most people gain 1-2 pounds during the holiday season.
Several important tips will enable you to enjoy eating without adding extra weight:
- Don’t stand near the food tables at a party. It’s too easy to just reach over and grab another something to eat.
- At party buffets, eat small amounts and include fruits and vegetables to balance the heavier foods.
- Be mindful that many foods are high in fat, salt and sugar and try to avoid those as much as possible.
- Eat until you are full, not stuffed, and don’t continue to eat just because there is plenty of food available.
- Eggnog and other holiday beverages add a large number of calories in addition to eating. Alcohol such as beer and mixed drinks also adds significantly to overall caloric intake and can stimulate hunger.
- If you eat a large amount at one function, eat lighter the remainder of the day.
- Prepare dishes that are low in fat and calories and bring those to the holiday party. A good alternative to creamy, rich appetizers are salads, hummus, or dishes with beans (lentils, edamame, or green beans).
- Use lean meats, seafood, whole grains and limit use of dairy.
- Incorporate 15-20 minutes of exercise per day which can be as simple as brisk walking, riding a stationary bike, or yoga. Or, you can find fun ways to stay active, such as dancing to your favorite holiday music.
Trying to maintain healthy eating habits during the holiday season will benefit you throughout the year.
- Niraj Jani, M.D. is Chief of Gastroenterology at Greater Baltimore Medical Center