The holidays are upon us, and you know what that means. Turkey and all the trimmings; apple pie, pecan pie, and just about every kind of cake, candy or cookie that makes your mouth water. Even with all these tantalizing treats, you can still eat healthy during the holidays and be friends with your scale at the beginning of the New Year. Here are a few suggestions to help you avoid the temptations lurking near the sugar-laden, high-calorie goodies, whether you are at home, a family member or friend’s house, or at the holiday office party.
Pick your parties
If you are invited to several holiday events, decide if you really need to attend and then plan ahead. Try not to arrive on an empty stomach. Eat a salad or other low-fat food before you leave home. Avoid mindless snacking at the party, and don’t hover near the buffet table. Try sitting down somewhere away from all the food to limit your nibbling.
Choose your food
With so many foods to pick from, don’t feel like you have to try them all. Select one or two of your favorites and enjoy every bite. But watch portion sizes of foods high in fat or added sugar. Fill up instead on a tasty variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.
When preparing food, look for ways to make them healthier. Pass gravy through a skimmer to reduce fat and calories. Opt for serving baked potatoes instead of candied yams. Use mustard instead of mayonnaise in sandwiches. Replace butter with light-margarine or reduced-fat sour cream on top of vegetables.
Drinking alcohol can weaken judgment, which may encourage you to overeat. Alcohol also is high in calories and has few nutrients. A 12-ounce regular beer contains about 150 calories and a 5-ounce glass of wine about 100 calories. Instead, opt for a wine spritzer or even a glass of fruit juice or carbonated water with a twist of lemon.
Spread the good health
Instead of bringing a box of chocolates or bag of chips to a party, arrive with a basket of tasty vegetables or platter of colorful fruits. If you decide to prepare a dish, check out the Web site www.fruitsandveggiesmatter.gov for inspirational recipe ideas that are healthy and nutritious.
Being physically active can help keep you away from the buffet table, relieve stress and burn off extra calories. Go for a walk around the neighborhood to look at decorations, try some new dance moves, throw a Frisbee or play some backyard football with the kids. If you are going to the mall for some shopping, park far away from the entrance and take the stairs when possible.
The holidays are not the best time to start a diet, but you can maintain your weight without depriving yourself. If you do indulge in that decadent slice of turtle cheesecake, don’t be your own personal Grinch. Go for an extra walk around the block or cut back on the calories elsewhere. A happy holiday is one of balance and moderation.