These tips can help people survive holiday eating frenzy|
by Alice Torres
95th Aerospace Medicine Squadron
12/14/2011 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- The holiday season is a time to celebrate with family and friends and often any attempt at healthy eating becomes challenging, and instead, we conveniently forget about our health and diet, and then we overindulge in every way possible. With a little preparation, you'll be ready to face any holiday head-on and still join in with fun and festivities.
Here are a few simple strategies to make the holiday season more healthful and less guilt-ridden.
1) Be realistic. The holidays are not the time to place added stress on yourself -- instead attempt to maintain your current weight.
2) Exercise. Take this opportunity to plan time into each day for exercise and don't break your routine. Regular exercise not only helps burn off excess calories, but also relieves holiday stress.
3) Eat regularly. By doing this, you'll be less tempted to overindulge. Before leaving for a party or dinner, don't starve yourself all day in anticipation -- instead have some low-fat, healthy snacks throughout the day.
4) Have a game plan. Prepare yourself for outings by trying to compensate with some healthy eating days leading up to the event. Survey party buffets before filling your plate and avoid the high-calorie items, such as high-fat appetizers, processed meats, fried foods, cream-based soups, heavy casseroles and desserts. Plan to fill up on lighter fare, such as lean meat, fruit and vegetables. Prepare and bring your own healthy dish to a holiday gathering and other weight-conscious guests will have an alternative if the host's offerings aren't so healthful.
5) Be assertive. Eat until you are satisfied, not stuffed. Don't feel as though you have to say yes to all food and drink offerings -- if you are not hungry, then simply say so. Eat slowly and really enjoy the foods that you may only have once a year. Leave what you don't want.
6) Moderate alcohol intake. Don't forget alcohol can add an unwanted excess calories. Try to control the amount of alcohol you consume in the same way as food -- try not to overindulge regularly. Moderation is defined as no more than one drink for women and two drinks for men.
7) Take the focus off food. The holidays are a time to slow down and catch up with family and friends. Move away from the buffet so you are not tempted to eat and concentrate on socializing, making new acquaintances, and having fun! Plan group activities and games that aren't centered on food, or spend time outdoors enjoying the winter weather together.
8) Select small portion sizes. Moderation allows you to control your calorie intake yet enjoy small tastes of high-calorie dishes. One way to ensure portion sizes are reasonable is to use smaller plates if available when at a buffet style party.
9) Get back on track. If you eat more food than you planned for, don't think you failed. Adjust your other calories accordingly and cut back on calories in another meal Then focus on spending the rest of your time with the people around you.
10) Practice healthy holiday cooking. Consider healthier substitutions in recipes whenever possible by simply swapping regular ingredients, foods and drinks, for their healthier half-fat alternatives and you will have a greater sense of satiety.