Eight tips to eat healthy this holiday season

The December holidays are filled with family, parties, traditions, and lots of delicious holiday food. But research shows that most adults generally gain weight during the Christmas season. But don’t despair, this year could be different! You can make smart, healthy choices while still enjoying yourself.

Registered Dietitian Julia Zumpano, RD, LD, shares tips and advice on how to enjoy the holidays without gaining weight.

Get moving!

One of the most effective ways to maintain or lose body weight is to engage in sustained and regular aerobic activity. To burn extra calories, increase your exercise routine during the holiday season. If you exercise for 30 minutes a day, increase it to 35 to 40 minutes. If you exercise three times a week, increase it to 4-5 times a week and increase the intensity of your workouts. (Before starting any exercise program, it is always best to check with your doctor.)

Cheat a little

It’s okay to cheat a little! Treat yourself to a small serving of a sweet or savory Christmas drink or treat every other day during the holiday season. But remember, you may need to make up for it later in the day by reducing your total caloric intake or burning a few extra calories while exercising. You can still enjoy Grandma’s famous Christmas cake, but it will take a bit of restraint and planning.

Control the risk of temptation

Controlling even the slightest chance of coming into contact with “tentative” foods is one way to effectively reduce calorie intake. While you won’t be able to control every situation, focus on all of the ones that you can. For example, do you keep candy or cookies in your workspace or on the counter? Are your Christmas treats stored in places with high traffic, like the dining room or pantry? Make a mental note to keep the treats in less accessible places. If you bake, save a small amount for yourself and your family, then give the rest away. And if you receive food as a gift, return it, donate it or share it with others.

Focus on eating fruits and vegetables

Eating seven or more servings of fruits and vegetables every day is a great way to help fill your stomach without exceeding your calorie count. Compared gram for gram to other snacks (such as potato chips, crackers, and cookies), fruits and vegetables contain fewer calories and more nutrients. What’s more, the fiber in fruits and vegetables will fill you up faster than traditional snacks.

Foto: Pixabay/ shixi0405

Never go to a party hungry

Before going to a party, have a healthy snack, such as a serving of your favorite fruit or a handful of nuts. When you get to the party, don’t mindlessly rush to the food table to fill up on snacks. Instead, assess your hunger. Once you are hungry, take a look at all the food that is available. Being aware of all the options will help you make more conscious decisions.

Be in charge of your party choices

Make heart-healthy decisions around the holidays. Bring a healthy snack such as pre-cut raw veggies, homemade whole wheat pita chips with Greek yogurt or hummus sauce, corn chips and guacamole, or a fruit salad. Or try a healthy dessert like a fat-free pudding, a fruit crunch, or a low-sugar cookie. This way you know there will be at least one healthy option at the dinner table. Use smaller plates to reduce the amount of food you eat. Avoid thick sauces made from cream or gravy and high-fat meats (such as meatballs, hot dogs, sliced ​​pork, or fried chicken wings). Also make sure you don’t drink too many calories. Holiday drinks, whether they contain alcohol or not, can be high in sugar and calories overall. Limit yourself to a small glass or stick with low-calorie options like coffee, tea, flavored water, dry wine, or spirits with ice. But whatever happens, be sure to drink plenty of water!

Say no politely

Many times you feel compelled to eat food because people put it in front of you. Learn to politely say no or ask to take a small portion home with you and give it to a neighbor, friend, or family member in need.

Focus on socializing, not food

Don’t stand around the food table at a party. Instead, go out and talk. After all, the conversation is calorie-free! Try to stand up more than you’ve been sitting since then (since it burns more calories) and offer to help clean up (since that burns even more calories!). Be courteous and be one of the last to eat, food looks a lot less appealing after everyone has dug their paws in or if they’ve been out for a while.


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