Americans tend to gain about one to two pounds during the holidays. While this doesn’t sound like much, research tells us that this adds up over the years. If you gain 1 to 2 pounds each year and never lose from the year before, this can result in a 10 pound weight gain. And it is so much harder, and less fun, to take off than it was to put on.
Don’t skip meals.
We often take the mentality of skipping meals so that we can save the calories for a later meal, that we know is going to be high in calories. This is a bad idea. This can actually cause you to eat more. Just like you have heard since childhood, never skip breakfast. People who consume breakfast tend to eat fewer calories throughout the day. Make sure you are including high fiber foods. Fruits and Vegetables can be eaten in larger quantities to satisfy hunger, while being low in calories.
Eat Small Portions.
It is easy to think that we can fill up on foods that we perceive to be healthy, but even healthy foods have calories. So if we eat small portions of everything, we might be able to sneak in our favorite dessert.
Pick a strategy to avoid overeating – and stick to it.
There are many strategies out there for eating less. Use a small plate, fill up on vegetables first, eat slower, wait 10 minutes before grabbing more, or simply standing across the room from the buffet line. Whichever strategy you choose, stick with it.
Keep Moving.
No matter the strategy or intentions, chances are we will probably consume more calories at the holiday party than we need to. So in order to offset that, get out and move. Continue to go to the gym, or simply go outside for a friends and family walk when dinner is over. Maybe the weather will be nice enough for a family football game. If you keep moving you will help keep those pesky calories at bay.
So enjoy all your favorite holiday foods. Just remember to not skip meals, eat smaller portions, keep moving, and stick to the strategy you choose.
Monica Nagele MS/RD is the Purdue Extension Montgomery County Extension Director, Health and Human Science Educator. You can reach her at 765-364-6363 or by E-mail: monicanagele@purdue.edu