Author: Winston Craig, MPH, PhD, RD.
It's that time of year again. A time of much feasting, fun and festivities. A time when we are tempted to the limit of endurance with tasty and tender delicacies at Thanksgiving and year-end Christmas parties. And by the time the New Year has come around some of us will have developed some extra baggage around our waist and hips. This leads many people to make the ever popular New Years' resolution- to go on a diet.
This inevitably leads to the questions: "How can I avoid putting on all this extra weight?", and "are there any guidelines that I can follow that could prevent this potential lifetime problem?" There are some strategies that are very simple and practical that can help.
Suggestions For Holiday Eating Out
- Before going to that party or Thanksgiving meal, it pays to plan ahead. Concentrate on eating fruits and vegetables and other high fiber, low-calorie foods, before taking to the high-calorie cookies, pies, cakes, ice cream and candy.
- Drink water instead of sweetened juices, sodas or milk beverages as these drinks can contribute many calories to a meal.
- Limit the amount of cheeses, sauces, toppings and gravies you use as these can add a lot of calories.
- Remember that high-fat foods add many more calories to a meal than do high carbohydrate foods. Your body has a much greater capacity for turning excess dietary fat calories into body fat than it does for converting excess carbohydrate calories into body fat.
In general, eating out poses the greatest temptation to loading up with these high calorie foods so that greater self-restraint is needed. A festive occasion usually creates a pleasant atmosphere that is conducive to overeating.
Entertaining people in your home may afford you an opportunity to exercise control over what you eat. When planning for Thanksgiving or Christmas meals, select lower calorie food items that are similar in taste to the high fat counterparts.
- Have a selection of raw vegetables instead of crackers and high fat cheese and cream cheese dips.
- Use low-fat yogurt instead of sour cream.
Other Practical Suggestions
- Broil or bake food items rather than fry.
- Choose foods that are higher in fiber and complex carbohydrates (green beans, potatoes, brown rice, lettuce, and tomato salad).
- Eat a substantial breakfast and lunch to help you avoid gorging for the evening meal.
- Limit the amount of nuts and chips eaten. Remember the saying: "seconds on the lips, years on the hips".
- Don't be mistaken - the four food groups are not vanilla, butterscotch, chocolate, and tutti-frutti.
Following these simple tips for holiday eating will be truly rewarding. Come January, you will not have to be worried about how you are going to lose those extra 10-15 pounds that you have added the previous two months. Keeping your weight down translates into a lower risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
In conclusion, moderation is the key. You CAN celebrate the holiday season with all its delicious food and drink. With a little planning and foreknowledge you can enjoy it with peace of mind, knowing that at the end, there won't be need for that New Years' resolution or that endless dieting that can take the enjoyment out of life.
Search Our Site For More
NEW! - MPH Nutrition and Wellness
This is the first and only interactive online MPH program in Nutrition and Wellness in the United States, offered by Andrews University at a 50% tuition discount. Fully online, no on-campus time required.
Find out more.
The calorie counter.
Buy a link here.
Compared to 20 years ago, soft drink consumption has jumped 21 percent in two - to five-year-olds, and 37 percent among six- to nine-year-olds.