Healthy Living over the Holidays

Krista Kohls, RD, CD, Meriter Dietitian 

The Holidays are just around the corner which means lots of food, family and socializing!  Enjoying your family is usually not the problem; but instead, most Americans enjoy food too much and are left with added pounds of weight after the holidays are over.  Some Americans gain up to 7 pounds during the holiday season!  Unfortunately, according to researchers at the National Institutes of Health, most Americans never lose the weight they gain during the winter holidays.   Here are some tips to keep your waistline from expanding during this holiday season!

  • Set Realistic Goals – Aim for weight maintenance this holiday season instead of weight loss.
  • Pay Attention to your Body – Use a gauge of 0-10 (zero being starving and 10 being absolutely stuffed) and when you get to about a 7, you should stop eating.  If you go beyond 7, then you know you are eating to meet emotional needs, not hunger.
  • Use Moderation – limit indulgences (notice I didn’t say avoid) & be selective with what food you eat. Take smaller portions of everything that looks good. Eat slowly and savor your foods; you’ll be less likely to want seconds.
  • Don’t Skip Meals – Don’t go to a social gathering or meal absolutely starving. Make sure to have a healthy breakfast the morning of Thanksgiving or before going to a party have a small snack before you leave the house.  Also make sure you are adequately hydrated – try drinking water before or during a meal to help fill you up
  • Focus on Socializing – A lot people think about food when the word “Holiday” is mentioned, but shift that mentality and focus on friends, family and socializing. Play group games, look at old family picture albums, etc.
  • Keep Exercising – Make a new family tradition: a family walk before or after the meal
  • Limit Alcohol – Alcohol not only adds calories but it can also hinder your judgment
  • Surround Yourself with Healthy Food – try to add as many healthfully prepared fruits and veggies to your meal as you can.  Aim for half your plate being filled with veggies.  Substitute some of the traditional high calorie fare with low-calorie options.
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