As the holidays arrive, so too does the crunch of shopping, family and tempting food. But there’s a way to avoid a dieting disaster and keep your waistline in check for next year. Here are some strategies from Fort Sanders Regional Registered Dietician, Beth Booker, for having a tasty, terrific holiday.
Rise and Shine.
Start your day out right. Use the morning meal to pack in lots of nutrition with whole grains, fruits and lean protein. People who skip breakfast usually make up the calories (or more) later in the day. Use this time to refresh yourself and build a healthy base for the day.
Planning is paramount during the holiday season. You need a course of action – think about what to do when you’re offered foods you feel you should not eat, what to eat instead, and ways to enjoy the season that are not food related. If you have a plan you will not be caught off-guard.
Where’s the fiber?
Eat foods high in fiber including whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Fiber delays digestion, making you feel full longer and making you less likely to binge on holiday foods.
Bring something you love.
Ask to bring something to the holiday party or family dinner. Make sure your contribution is something you like that is low in calories while being high in nutrients. By bringing something along, you can be assured that you have a go-to food for healthy snacking.
Ask someone else to fill your plate at a buffet. Walk down the line without a plate first, making mental notes of what you might want to eat and what you might want to avoid. Ask a friend to fill your plate and not deviate from your requested foods. If your friend is also being vigilant, you can do the same for him or her. Having a buddy at the event can help keep you focused on the people and not the food.
Don’t forget the vegetables.
Vegetables are high in nutrients and low in calories. Make sure you choose vegetables that have plenty of color and crunch. Making your plate visually interesting can help you feel less deprived. Crunchy foods like vegetables take longer to eat and make you slow down to appreciate your food.
Don’t run on empty.
Whatever you do, don’t go to a party hungry and don’t “save up” for a big end-of-day meal. Eat a mini-meal before the office get-together or make yourself healthy snacks throughout the day. If you face a buffet table on an empty stomach, you’ll have little chance of preventing a diet disaster.
Pick a smaller plate.
Avoid buffet-size plates and choose a plate from the smaller sizes usually available on the dessert or appetizer table. A full small plate looks more appealing than a large plate with lots of empty space.
If you booze it, you won’t lose it.
Alcohol can be very fattening. Whether you’re sipping a glass of wine or having a frosty cold beer, those empty calories are going to add up! Drinking will not quell your appetite either. In fact, it may loosen your determination and cause you to binge on foods you might never have touched when sober. If you do choose to drink, try making some switch-offs, like having a wine spritzer instead of a whole glass of wine.
Take modest portions of the foods you’re interested in eating and don’t make a second trip to the buffet. If you need to hold something after you’ve enjoyed first helpings of holiday foods, hold a cup of tea, coffee or other nonalcoholic beverage.