Avoid the Holiday Bulge (part II)

’Tis the season for food temptation.  Nicole Treanor, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at Homestead Hospital, offers these tips to help you avoid the holiday bulge:

Don’t go to a party hungry. Eat a nutritious snack at home before going to a party, so you’re not tempted to overindulge. Stick with healthy offerings such as vegetables, fruit and appetizers without breading or heavy sauces. Move away from the food and focus on socializing instead of eating.

Beat the buffet. When dinner is served buffet-style, use the smallest plate available and don’t stack your food. Portion control is the key, Ms. Treanor says. She also recommends choosing the simplest foods on the buffet and avoiding dips, sauces and gravies. Fill half of your small plate with salad, vegetables and fruit, one quarter with lean meat and the final quarter with a starch.

Bring something healthy. If everyone is bringing food to the party or dinner, make your recipe a lower-fat option. Healthy choices include a vegetable platter, roasted vegetables, fresh tossed salad or a fruit dessert.  

Choose wisely. Eat only what you really like. You don’t have to try it all, Ms. Treanor says. “If mashed potatoes are not your favorite, skip them,” she said. “And when it comes to dessert, be very selective. Make your indulgence count. Take the smallest piece of pie or dessert, or split a piece with your spouse.”

Avoid liquid calories. High-calorie drinks such as eggnog, regular soda and juice can add hundreds of calories to your day. Water is the best choice and it’s calorie-free. If you’d like to have an alcoholic drink, wine or light beer is lower in calories than mixed drinks or punches.

Exercise regularly. “It’s important to continue your exercise regimen during the holidays or add extra workouts to offset any extra calories,” Ms. Treanor said. If you don’t regularly exercise, consider adding some simple activities such as walking or biking with family members or friends.

Plan ahead. “If you know you have a holiday party or family dinner this weekend, plan your week properly and eat healthy,” Ms. Treanor advises. “Add an extra session at the gym or take a walk each evening to burn the extra calories you may consume at the party.”

Splurge a little. Allow yourself one small splurge every now and then, while keeping the rest of your eating habits healthy. This strategy will ensure that you don’t feel deprived of holiday treats, and will encourage you to be selective about your choices. Remember that you may have to compensate for your splurge by reducing calories at a meal or burning extra calories while exercising.

“Make your health a priority this season,” Ms. Treanor advised. “Eat healthy, stay active, reduce your stress and get good sleep.”

To learn more tips to help you avoid the holiday bulge visit Health, Life & Community  Part I of the series.


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