The holidays are a wonderful time to celebrate with family, friends, and colleagues. But holiday events pose a special challenge for healthy eating and may have the unwanted result of weight gain. A recent study suggests that most Americans gain about a pound during the winter holiday season. While this might not seem like much, this extra weight can accumulate through the years and contribute to obesity later in life. This year, whether you are a guest or holding a party yourself, try a new strategy by planning what, when, and how much you eat or serve at holiday events.
When attending a holiday buffet, select a variety of healthy foods that fit your meal plan. If you are hosting a holiday gathering, try to offer a variety of low fat, high fiber foods. That means fresh fruits and vegetables, grilled or broiled lean meats, fish, and turkey and chicken without the skin. Increase fiber content by serving whole grain breads and crackers, vegetables, fruits and dried fruits, or dishes including beans and legumes. Water and seltzer are both healthy, no-calorie beverages that can quench your thirst and help you feel full. Want something more festive? There are plenty of flavored waters on the market, just read the food label to ensure that it’s a no-calorie or low calorie beverage. Seltzer mixed with fruit juices or hot apple cider also makes refreshing and colorful alternatives to other more high calorie holiday beverages.
If you’re like most people, no matter how much you’ve eaten at dinner, there always seems to be room for desserts and sweets. You can still have your favorite holiday dessert, just cut down on the portion size and how often you eat these types of food. Fruit also makes for a great dessert – it tastes delicious, is filling, and provides energy. Check out these tips for healthy eating for better nutrition.
Increasing your physical activity during the holidays (even if it is in small amounts) can help control weight gain. Remember, you can still enjoy the holiday season with its festivities and foods while keeping off the extra pounds through informed nutritious choices, controlled portion sizes, and increased physical activity.