Healthy Holiday Eating

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The holidays are upon us!  You know dasher, dancer, prancer and vixen.  On come the treats, the drinks, the meat pies, and the fixins’.  But do you recall, what’s the one thing we dread most of all?  The extra 5-10 pounds the average human gains during this season!

There’s hope.  We don’t have to gain weight while we enjoy the treats and joys of the holidays.  I’ve done some research, for my own good, and thought I’d pass along a few tips to help keep those pounds off, yet still have some fun!

For starters, let’s say you have a little evening party to go to.  Don’t go with an empty stomach.  Try to eat a few healthy snacks an hour or two before you leave.  You won’t be super hungry when you get there, and then will probably help yourself to smaller portions, or just flat out, not be so hungry you binge on all the fattening goodies when you get to that party.

Drink lots of water.  Water actually tells your stomach it’s full.  So while you’re snacking away on that plate you filled up, balance it with water, and at least, you’ll stay with just one plate instead of going back for more.

If snacks are on the menu, head for the veges and fruit.  Stay away from those mean chips and crackers.  You’ll gain more energy, feel better when you leave, and know, deep down inside, you did not just gain 3 of those 10 pounds at one party.

Is there a big meal being served?  Help yourself to a smaller plate if available.  If not, try what my son does and make sure none of the servings touch each other.  The mere space that takes up on the plate will very possibly force you into smaller portion sizes (not to mention, nothing will “contaminate” the flavor of anything else!).  Choose larger helpings of vegetables and salads or greens.  I’ve seen some suggestions that these colorful items should take up no less than half your plate, with meat (or meat by-products) and starches combined taking up the other half.  Another great tip is to eat slowly.  Putting down your fork with each mouthful, requires you to actually chew (and therefore, taste your food) and allows a little bit of reverence for the food and mindfulness of the moment.  It takes 20 minutes for the average persons’ stomach to tell the brain, it’s full.  In the meantime, you’ve probably shoveled in more food beyond that.

Alcohol is next on the list.  The easiest way out of over-indulging here is to volunteer to be the designated driver.  One sip during the toast and back to the club soda for you!  Not the driver?  One way to stretch out the high-calorie drinks is to alternate with water or club soda every other drink.

Most of all, don’t sweat it.  If you can’t manage to get these things worked into your holiday eating habits, then work in a walk.  Do you realize a mere two-mile walk, around the neighborhood, can burn up to 500 calories, depending on your pace?  This amounts to about 7 or 8 blocks.  Easy and it’s a great way to see how over the top your neighbors went with their holiday decorations again this year.  The fresh air won’t hurt you either!

Happy Holidays everyone.  Be safe and Positively Healthy!

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