Voluminous Eating – Tips to Avoid Holiday Weight Gain

During this joyous Holiday season, the average adult in the U.S. will gain as much as 7 pounds between Thanksgiving and New Years day. If we do the math that means the average adult will overeat (or under exercise) by 25,000 calories during a 5 week time period. These additional pounds, on top of pounds you may already need to lose, makes the road back in January a rough and long one. But before you call me the Grinch that has spoiled your Holiday, let me offer some practical tips to manage your weight while eating well and enjoying the spirit of the day.

  • iStock_000028309406LargeVolume is Key. Don’t focus on pinching calories, avoiding food and depriving yourself. Instead, focus on eating more!  Choose lots of vegetables (fruit is also good) of all kinds at meals, snacks and at parties. These high volume foods provide lots of water, fiber and chewing satisfaction. They help satisfy your need to eat while contributing few calories. You’ll find you can enjoy far less rich, high calorie foods if you’ve filled up on veggies first.
  • Budget Your Calories Like Money. Everything has a cost and only you can determine if the calorie cost of a food is worth it. An extra 500 calories a day – that’s equivalent to a cup of egg nog, a piece of pecan pie, or 6 hot hordeorves, can mean a 1 pound weight gain for the week. Because every bite counts, be choosy and go for those special foods you just can’t pass up or you don’t get very often. You can also bank extra calories by exercising, knowing you’re going to eat a little more that day.
  • Sip Responsibly. “One for One” is a good motto for holiday festivities. Drink a glass of water to balance out each cocktail, glass of wine or beer. Choose sparkling water with a twist. Try adding club soda to wine or fruit juice to add volume and dilute the calories. . Limit the sugary, creamy cocktails like a Pina Colada, which can load more than 500 calories per 6 oz. serving.
  • Pre-Party Snack. Plan a bit ahead and don’t go hungry to any event. Even worse is to skip a meal in anticipation of splurging later. Being hungry (and tired), will make it hard to resist the tempting sight, smell and taste of holiday food. Try snacking on a small handful of almonds or walnuts, a yogurt cup, a small smoothie or even a half sandwich before you head out the door. You’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to say “no” when you’re not starving. PS- Don’t park yourself near the food and dessert table.
  • Move is a Must. As schedules become jammed pack, it’s important to make time to exercise. Try to get at least 30 minutes (2-15 minute sessions will also do) of active movement every day – walk the dog, do a fitness video, take the stairs, meet friends to walk and talk. Buy yourself a gift of a pedometer and challenge yourself to walk 10,000 steps a day. Not only will you feel better and have more energy, but walking and movement is a great stress reliever.
  • It’s not really about food:  Join family and friends in fellowship and conversation. Enjoy the sights and sounds of the occasion. Suggest non-food activities to get you moving and keep your mind off food. Don’t expect to be perfect but rather do your best each day to make healthy choices.

Each day will undoubtedly bring new challenges but the rewards of making smart decisions each day will help you beat the holiday bulge. You’ll be in the right mindset to start the New Year with confidence and be one step ahead, not behind, in achieving your health goal. Wishing you and yours the healthiest of Holidays this season.

spiced apple

Here’s a healthy, yet tasty, treat for your next holiday gathering… a Spiced Apple Bread Pudding by Eating Well

This silky apple dessert recipe—a spiced apple bread pudding made with apple cider in place of the usual custard—gets a double hit of apple flavor from both the cider and plenty of sliced tart apples. Mace, the lacy red spice that coats the nutmeg fruit, adds a particularly lovely floral note, but you can substitute nutmeg if you don’t have any mace on hand.

Go here to learn how to prepare this holiday treat!